After living in downtown Glenwood Springs for the last four or so years, I’ve had a chance to spend some serious time there, thinking about what would make our little town greater than it already is.
Thank goodness the golf course is on the shelf at this point. As I walk around the town I’ve come to love, I see so many other things that need attention instead.
All this talk of the certificates of participation (COPs) disturbed me, first of all because the proponents wanted to throw it away on yet another golf course, but also because they forgot the people of the town would be the ones paying it back. Mind you, I don’t think the COPs idea was a bad one. Just the notion of how to spend it.
One of the things that this town is always going after is tourism dollars, and how to get them into the city proper. I’ve got some ideas on that.
First of all, address the parking. The tourists appreciate something easy to find and central, so they can walk everywhere. Local workers can benefit, too.
A friend finds it difficult on her downtown street to park in front of her house because all the downtown office workers are parked there to escape the 2-hour zone. They need a central place to park. Build the parking garage, one story underground, one ground level, and one as a second story. Behind the Forest Service building is a good spot, and if it’s done right (i.e. don’t be cheap), it won’t impact the neighborhood too adversely. (Remember, I’m a downtowner. This could impact me.)
This brings up another point ” tourists walking. To many of these people, the idea of walking is a novelty. If you’re downtown during the summer (and often during the winter), you’ll see that the tourists walk everywhere.
Most of them stay in motels across the river and down on 6th, so they have to run the gauntlet at Laurel and 6th, where the highway dumps into Glenwood. Build a pedestrian access, underground or over. Get them downtown safely!
Then give them someplace to go. They want to walk downtown, and what’s better to do after eating (or while waiting for a table) than to shop?
I would challenge all the shopkeepers downtown who aren’t open after 5:30 p.m. to stay open one hour later at night. One hour. Now, you’ll have to be patient and let everyone know that you’ll do that. It may take some time to get the consumer used to it. It may mean you open up an hour later in the morning.
Since we locals work all day and get off about 5:30, we don’t shop at your stores because you’re closing about then! Think of all the business you are losing. If the parking were easy and convenient, you’d grab those downvalley dollars, too, while they wait for rush hour to subside. We’re not always around on Saturday between 11-4.
Ask the few shops that do stay open later how their sales numbers break out, and I’ll bet you they do more business in the evening. Remember, too, these tourists are wandering the streets at night just looking for something to spend their money on.
In reading my opinion, some people may be angry with me, because they have a different vision of downtown. Maybe theirs is better than mine. But we have to start somewhere, and we have to start soon.
Or, like widening Midland and Four Mile, it will become a “we should have.” I don’t think we can afford that anymore.
” Gay Moore is a resident of downtown Glenwood Springs. She works as an advertising sales representative at the Post Independent.
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