Letter: Disclose 7th street costs
June 14, 2018
Glenwood Springs did an admirable job of minimizing the impacts of the massive Grand Avenue bridge replacement project. Although CDOT deserves most of the credit, both the city and state officials participated in a comprehensive public information campaign that kept residents and visitors well-informed throughout the process.
But now, as the city moves toward finalizing plans for improving the Sixth and Seventh Street bridge landing areas, some City Council members seem to have lost their taste for transparency. Despite objections from several council members, a 4-3 council majority voted on June 7 to withhold financial information about the long-awaited Seventh Street beautification project from the public.
Glenwood's Downtown Development Authority estimated last fall that the project – which includes a new sanitary sewer, under-bridge events space and various landscape and streetscape improvements – would cost more than $8.5 million. Since then, the project has reportedly been scaled back.
But the Council majority apparently doesn't want us to know the latest cost estimates, or details about the project's scope and timing, reportedly because that might affect pricing when the project is put out for bid.
That sounds like a flimsy excuse, however, since governments routinely disclose estimated costs before seeking project bids, and contractors are well aware that they risk losing the job if they bid too high.
Could it be the Council majority doesn't want to renew debate over its recent capital spending decisions, which include pouring millions of dollars into downtown improvements while – some would say – ignoring the precarious, crumbling state of South Midland Ave.?
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Whatever the reasons for the City's puzzling secrecy, city residents and taxpayers deserve a full public accounting about what's in store for Seventh Street, and what it's likely to cost. If that's not immediately forthcoming, then someone ought to initiate legal proceedings to pry out the information.