PI Editorial: Lack of clarity in Glenwood airport ballot questions disappointing | PostIndependent.com

PI Editorial: Lack of clarity in Glenwood airport ballot questions disappointing

Post Independent Editorial Board

What does Glenwood Springs want for the future of its airport?

Right or wrong, like it or not, that appears to be the question before voters this election.

The Glenwood Springs City Council voted earlier this year to put two questions on airport funding to the voters this November.

If both are approved, the questions would help fund maintenance and improvements at the airport — and a South Bridge tunnel to keep the runway intact — to the tune of $8 million. While some improvements could be made if voters authorize the city to take on additional debt, but without funding through a mill levy, it’s unclear how the proposal might be pared down.

If both fail, that opens up a big debate on City Council about whether to keep the airport as is or to shorten the runway to help keep costs down for the upcoming South Bridge project.

South Bridge has already been approved by council, but whether or not it includes a tunnel, thereby keeping the airport runway, could greatly impact the future of aviation in Glenwood Springs.

Now, when the airport and South Bridge are weighed side by side, it’s hard to imagine that more people wouldn’t benefit from a South Bridge being built sooner rather than later. South Bridge would be an invaluable connector for the thousands of city and county residents who live in South Glenwood and along the 4 Mile Road corridor. The airport offers no commercial service but benefits the community by serving as a hub for emergency air service and its economic impact. At the same time, the airport is a cherished community resource for many within the local aviation community, some of whom talked about the importance of the airport in a story published in Friday’s Post Independent.

Voting in favor of both ballot questions is a way to ensure that South Bridge is built while also providing a previously unseen level of support for Glenwood Springs Airport. Voting against, on the other, will very likely be seen by some council members as a lack of support for the airport. In turn, this could very well be the end of the Glenwood Springs Airport as we know it. Not overnight, but in the years to come it would be very unlikely to remain in its current form.

What’s most unfortunate about this is the lack of clarity in the ballot questions. Council members could and should have been more direct about the intention of the vote. The muddied approach we’ve had will instead allow doubt to persist even after the vote. We wouldn’t be surprised if those doubts end up further kicking South Bridge, the most important infrastructure project for South Glenwood, years into the future. That would truly be an unnecessary shame.

The Post Independent editorial board members are Publisher Bryce Jacobson, Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Annie Bell and Amy Connerton.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.