Glenwood Springs is a terrific place to live; in many ways it is a small town, but has “big city” issues. -The central downtown is a pleasant shopping district with wonderful restaurants and retail spaces. However, it is bisected by one of the busiest state highways in Colorado (28,000 cars travel Grand Avenue on weekdays).-Several streets in downtown have been taken out of use to make way for city projects. That loss of downtown streets has placed larger traffic burdens on fewer existing thoroughfares. -With the addition of the bypass, large numbers of cars now dump onto 8th and 9th, accessing Grand each day. -People are searching for better alternatives to make their way into and through town, or, worst case scenario, to avoid town.-There are big-box stores here and more to come. The retail work force is going to change from small and midsize owner-run stores. We are seeing, and will see, more large, out-of-area employers hiring at significantly lower wages than the existing Glenwood median. (Lowe’s quoted 150 employees; average yearly wage of $16,660). Extrapolated to include the major commercial components of Glenwood Meadows, that means 500 jobs at an annual wages of $16,660.-We are becoming impacted by the need for more energy resources. Glenwood is the county seat, and Garfield County is the “hot-bed” for drilling.-Years ago, Glenwood was dependent on tourism, agriculture and energy (primarily coal) for survival, and usually one or two of those sectors were “in the tank.” We are fortunate that so much diversity has taken place here in the last 30 years. We have a large professional community, federal, state, county and city governments, CMC, hospital, publishing, advertising, grocery, restaurant and retail businesses, all of which are significant employers. We are looking at adding to the already strong entertainment industry by building a kayak park, community swimming pool, city golf course and, hopefully, a theater.As a City Council person, I’d like to address the issue of moving Highway 82 off Grand. That is of utmost importance to regain the small-town atmosphere of Glenwood. A parking structure needs to be built downtown to invite customers back. Keep Glenwood’s economic diversity strong; don’t give up retail to other communities. Look at encouraging new tech jobs. The parks and amenities that make Glenwood a great place to live are for the most part funded by sales taxes, which come from locals who have adequate jobs, and from tourists who enjoy what our area has to offer.- Chris McGovern is running unopposed as a write-in candidate for the Ward 3 seat on the Glenwood Springs City Council.
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