Letter: Confluence should belong to the people
Glenwood Springs has a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a public space that could become a community treasure.
Early communities were unaware of the value of some of the natural resources that could nurture their people in perpetuity. Rivers were thought of as dumping grounds for everything from sewage to industrial waste.
Nationally, we saw rivers and lakes so polluted nothing could live in them and some even caught fire. This led to the Clean Water Act that created the authority to right these wrongs.
We also began to realize that the quality of life for humans could not be separated from the quality of the surrounding environment. Being close to the waterways creates an experience that is proven to create emotional and psychological benefits in people.
That is why the public property that was once the Glenwood wastewater facility is such a great chance to meet these public needs. Of course, commercial interests can also see the value added to business ventures in this unique location.
The allure of new tax dollars means city governments almost always favor developments over public space. That is what the “Community Development” offices are designed to do: build things.
The untold secret is that developments are almost never stand-alone projects. They need infrastructure to operate. That means roads, water, power, and most important, people.
Those people need housing, transportation, schools, health services and much more. I’ve heard that a development can need as much as four times its value in external costs.
That means more tax dollars to be raised. Cities are often induced to provide substantial cuts in fees upfront to make the projects more financially attractive to their investors. And existing taxpayers must foot the bill.
The joining of the Colorado and the Roaring Fork rivers is a powerful natural phenomenon. It ought to continue to belong to the people of Glenwood, and provide enjoyment for many years to come.
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