Vallario plants roots

Dennis Webb, News Editor

Call him Louie Appleseed.

The arrival of a new sheriff in town could bring the welcome look of more trees to the courtyard plaza by the new Glenwood Springs City Hall and Garfield County Jail.

Make no mistake, Lou Vallario’s no shady character. His upstanding reputation as Glenwood Springs’ police lieutenant helped him defeat two-term incumbent Garfield County Sheriff Tom Dalessandri in November’s election.

Vallario merely envisions planting some deep roots in his new job. Right outside his window.

The plaza’s landscaping wasn’t a campaign issue between the two. But it turns out Vallario has fewer apprehensions than his predecessor did about bringing a more arboreal appearance to the courtyard.

Dalessandri was concerned that planting many trees would provide too much cover for armed jail escapees or other disgruntled people. As a result, the city’s plan of planting 42 trees was scaled back considerably, to just eight.

The conspicuous lack of shade didn’t escape notice by another newly elected public official, County Commissioner Tresi Houpt. When she inquired into the matter at a recent city-county meeting, Vallario indicated that he’s fine with reviving the city’s landscaping plan, within reason.

So are we. Dalessandri is to be commended for his detailed attention to security in getting the new jail built, but we don’t share his level of concern as it pertained to the plaza landscaping. No one seems to be talking about 42 trees in the plaza. But some additional plantings will make for a more aesthetically pleasant place, where city and county employees and the public can enjoy the plaza shielded from the direct rays of our mountain sun.

A more beautifully appointed plaza would increase enjoyment of it every day. Compare that to the remote risk of providing shelter in the case of an escape, and we’re willing to take our chances.

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