Letter: Ensuring safe sidewalks in our downtown area
I am a student at Glenwood Springs High School who is writing to help identify a local problem and take steps to fix it. The project I have chosen is the condition of sidewalks in Glenwood Springs.
Glenwood has always depended on tourists to fuel our economy. A significant amount of visitation occurs during the winter months in which the local ski areas draw in large crowds. This concurrently allows for businesses to thrive. The problem arises in the sidewalks of these downtown areas. According to local ordinance; private business owners are required to clear the snow from their sidewalk or face a penalty. This is not currently being enforced and often there is remaining ice and snow, thus posing potential dangers to these visitors. This is not a good look for Glenwood, which has historically been a tourist dependent town. In an effort to maintain Glenwood’s touristy outlook we need a solution.
In my opinion the most logical revision to the ordinance would be to extend the current penalty to pay for the clearing of ice and snow. This would ensure that the sidewalks would be clear while also giving owners a chance to do the job themselves.
A similar ordinance is being enacted in Aspen where the community also faces large tourist volumes. They have required all business owners to clear the sidewalks or work crews will do the job for them at double the cost. This fine would help to pay for the contract while also imposing an additional disincentive.
This kind of work can require a contract. Currently the City of Glenwood Springs has a agreement with Birds Beware, a company tasked with maintaining the downtown area. If we were to enact a similar ordinance, we could extend this contract to snow removal downtown. Ideally this ordinance would lead to owners clearing their own sidewalks. Yet, it is important for Glenwood to require all businesses across the city to clear their surrounding sidewalks. Thus we may need another contract for other commercial areas. This is only the basis of an idea but it is a good start toward maintaining the sidewalks for the tourists who fuel a good portion of the Glenwood economy.