My Side |

My Side

Gay Moore’s article in the Jan. 29 edition was well appreciated.

Historic Glenwood must rebuild itself soon. There is precious little time to address parking concerns, pedestrian traffic problems and consumer friendly hours.

There are many opinions about why downtown is such a quagmire of unfocused energy and unresolved problems. I’ve spent the last 18 months volunteering on the Downtown Development Authority’s restaurant and retail sub-council to see why.

The result? It seems many of our downtown businesses appear to be mired in complacency, apathy or victimization. The volunteers that I have met I respect greatly. The hundred or so other business proprietors appear unwilling to pay attention to their common plight without someone else’s promotion to criticize.

Many have tried, in vain, to tell our downtown that failure to act is killing our historical town center. A good many well-intentioned ex-volunteers like myself no longer wish to donate time and be beaten down through lack of participation, interest or support.

Now, I side with the average consumer. I do not currently like to shop downtown. Being closed when I’m available and hard to get to has encouraged me to shop elsewhere. They have tried to stay open later, but not all stores, not at the same time, and not for long enough to earn my dollars back. No legislation has solved parking needs.

I believe that when the tide goes up, all ships rise (Joel Carr’s phrase). But downtown business owners don’t look willing to sail. They have a choice. Raise the tide, or let the competitive market sink ships. Capitalistic sharks are waiting to eat downtown alive.

I challenge the DDA district and Glenwood voters to accomplish any of the following great ideas from inspired Glenwood citizens and volunteers.

1) Unify goals. The DDA district contains enough history, restaurants, entertainment, retail space and hotels. A tourist could come and never need to leave.

2) Trade retail shopping for car dealerships in North Glenwood, connecting the hotel strip and south side in their goals.

3) Encourage the Hot Springs Pool and the city to get a parking garage north of the river, under the bridge.

4) Build a pedestrian bridge from Village Inn to Amoco so parked hotel clients can walk the path downtown (and create a beautiful entrance to town).

5) Dig a pedestrian tunnel to the parking area across from the Caverns base area, giving hotel pedestrians more access downtown.

6) Once parking problems are diverted to the north side, brick over old downtown into a pedestrian mall.

7) Create a free shuttle, paid for and serving the DDA district, with five-minute intervals from the gondola to the Springs Theatre.

8. Put action behind opinions. Get out there and save our businesses. Solutions require pro-active people, not victims. Don’t complain without participating.

9. Argue until a marketable option is moving.

10. Expect downtown proprietors to show up, gift certificates, dues and ideas in hand. Riding the tide or creating undertow detracts.

Use the DDA as a tool, or the City Council will use the funds elsewhere. Without more than 10 motivated, unified, driven volunteers, someone else’s tide will prevail.

We all have busy lives. My 700,000 guests, 50 employees, four home-schooled teenagers, a marriage and seven pets keep me frantic. I have also put countless hours into downtown promotions.

Accuse me of sour grapes. I won’t deny it. It troubles me that a Rifle resident running a successful Denver-owned business concerns himself with Historic Glenwood more than many struggling business owners or resident voters.

This town needs a heart. Sorry for the shock therapy. Start beating already!

” Ted Churchill of Rifle is the general manager for the Village Inn restaurant in North Glenwood.

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