Letter: ‘Gib’ Rainey was a man before his time
Lavonne and I lost a close friend of many years to cancer on Nov. 19. Roy “Gib” Rainey was a former Glenwood Springs city manager, in fact a great city manager arriving in early 1973. Some have described him as a man before his time. He, along with a forward-looking council, brought much-needed innovation and positive change to our town. Roy was one of those rare managers that was always accessible. He was not one to be found hiding under his desk. He and his wife, Pat, were well-known within our community.
Upon his arrival, he found the city maintenance crews repairing equipment on a dirt floor in the city shop. He concreted the floor, replaced many of the city’s old trucks and equipment — most were World War II surplus. Old-timers will smile when they remember the great uproar in town when Roy brought those concrete elephant ears to Grand Avenue’s downtown intersections.
From his parks and recreation background Roy knew Glenwood needed much more park land. Council purchased the controversial Basic Chemical property and renamed it Two Rivers Park. A major conflict arose between those that believed the land was too expensive; too filled with enormous amounts of lime spoils, concrete and trash and had no useful purpose for the city. Others said we didn’t need more parks; after all, the mountains and out-of-doors surrounding town were all the parks Glenwood needed. Council was not about to sell the land, so opponents forced a citywide vote to sell the property. The outcome: “Keep the Land for a Future Park.”
Roy and this council’s overriding concern for the long-term future of Glenwood is found in a memo he wrote to council for their Thursday, Dec. 6, 1973, meeting (40 years ago). “It is the intention of the city to designate Midland Avenue — for the purpose of providing an identifiable corridor — for investigation and study of a possible bypass for State Highway 82.”
Council approved, knowing that the ever-increasing traffic on Grand Avenue would eventually harm the future viability of our community. It is sad that subsequent councils commissioned 13 bypass studies, but never had the will to conquer Mt. Mañana to save our citizens, neighbors and visitors from the noise, trucks and turmoil that so many of us endure as we daily cross this albatross.
Lavonne and I are greatly saddened by the passing of Roy and pray for both him and his wonderful wife, Pat.
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