Letter: A vision for downtown GWS
After the former editor of the Post Independent sacked reporter John Colson, I promised myself I would never write another letter to the editor. However, after reading the 7.1.15 John Goss op/ed piece, I have changed my mind on boycotting the PI.
Therefore, as a formally educated University of California social scientist with 35 plus years in local economic development , I hereby publicly challenge the very premise of the John Goss thesis of: “If we are going preserve the family atmosphere of Glenwood Springs and save the businesses that help make Glenwood Springs ‘The Most Fun Town in America,’ we must act quickly.”
Instead of “saving” what is left of the downtown GWS’ profitable businesses, (such as the Glenwood Vaudeville Review, the tattoo parlors and saloons, Eagles & Doc Holliday’s) please allow me to suggest that a responsible, scientifically designed, local economic redevelopment plan (ERP), is what must be pursued:
1. Because the city of Glenwood Springs has an activated Colorado Urban Renewal Authority (DDA), and 2. Because the Garfield County coffers presently hold $130 Million in untapped cash reserves, (more than safely solvent to dedicate future tax increments to the GWS Downtown Development Authority and away from the greedy grip of Garfield County Treasurer Carla Bagley), and 3. Because the Grand Avenue Bridge rebuild is now under way by CDOT, an unprecedented and timely economic development opportunity is presently available to the people, downtown property owners and business of GWS, but you must “act quickly.”
If you are a property owner in the GWS downtown area, between Cooper Street, 8th Street and Colorado Street, (including the Worrell & Durrett Building owned by Garfield County), for most of you (not all), the economic life of your antiquated buildings has ended and the reason you are able to charge small businesses rent is because of your property’s downtown location of the real estate (land) beneath your buildings and not the existing economic vitality of the actual commercial buildings you own. A child can walk in the alleys behind your commercial space and see that most of these buildings should be razed and redeveloped.
Therefore, I propose instead five-story multi-use buildings including professional office space, commercial/retail space and affordable housing as the cornerstone in the downtown ERP.
This all begins by the GWS City Council taking aggressive action in a timely and workmanlike manner.
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