Wednesday letters: Ascendigo would change character of neighborhood, supporting Ascendigo’s plan, Glenwood’s housing proposal, good things are coming, West Glenwood development, and vote Bertuglia
Missouri Heights sits above the hustle and bustle of the valley floor. As far as the eye can see, there are mountain vistas and homes with families who have chosen to live in this bucolic and quiet rural landscape. I’ve lived in Missouri Heights for three years, and I love this rural community and the peace and serenity of countryside life.
I work with institutional property owners to build solar across their properties, so I am familiar with commercial development. What Ascendigo is proposing, while they are a commendable organization with a worthy cause, is commercial development in both the scope and proposed impact of their operations. They are a tax-exempt nonprofit because they engage in activities without the pursuit of profit, but having worked for two nonprofits and having served on the board of a third for five years, I am well aware that well-run nonprofits, like Ascendigo, conduct their activities much the same as a commercial business.
When I first learned about Ascendigo’s plans, the eight-week summer camp sounded like an OK alternative to the development of the property into 15 homes (not the 21 that Ascendigo continues to claim). As the plans have developed, however, I took the time to read the application, and now I oppose this development, which would forever change the character of our rural neighborhood. I ask you — does this sound rural residential or commercial?
Twelve weeks of intense camp and additional weeks at smaller capacity; in nonsummer months, daily commuters for therapy, group training and workshops; multiple buildings that house 24 to 48 residents and parking spots for 94 cars; A 6,800-square-foot cafeteria building for up to 100 people, and a 14,000-square-foot activity barn.
No one is against Ascendigo, and their clients absolutely deserve a camp. Their mission is admirable, their program well reputed and very worthwhile. But they don’t need to locate their camp in Missouri Heights and shouldn’t — given the one dirt road, limited emergency services, notorious winds, wildfire risk and the major water concerns in our high desert ecosystem.
Missouri Heights, Carbondale
Supporting Ascendigo’s plan
I enthusiastically support Ascendigo’s efforts to build an educational and summer camp facility on the White Cloud property in Missouri Heights.
I have lived in this valley since 1994 and am a resident of Missouri Heights. I have a daughter with autism who has participated in the Ascendigo camp and received services with them for over five years. When she received her diagnosis, I began a long and sometimes lonely journey of trying to put together a system of support for her and our family. This effort was daunting given the remoteness or our area.
When we found Ascendigo, we found a welcoming place of enthusiasm and joy for a child who can be very difficult to understand.
When someone genuinely appreciates your child with challenging social needs, it’s like finding a needed hand to hold in a precarious place. Ascendigo was able to get Harper to engage in activities we never thought possible. One of her Ascendigo slogans is, “I am brave enough, I am strong enough, and I can do this.” For a person who requires a fair bit of support to move through this world, the enthusiastic expression of these words gives me hope.
I am confident the White Cloud property will be used in harmony with the landscape and nature of Missouri Heights. Ascendigo’s respect for relationships and people of all abilities will no doubt translate into the efforts of being good neighbors. I saw the network of walking trails formed over the years. I know Ascendigo wants to keep many of these trails in use for the camp and is looking forward to sharing them with neighbors.
This property will be used for educational, therapeutic and recreational purposes congruent with other ranches in the area. While being a year-round facility, the bulk of programming will be provided during the summer months, with heavier flow days only occurring once a week for parent drop-off and pick-up.
This new location will provide a needed home base, and Missouri Heights will gain a less developed land-use site reflective of the values of the area and the pursuit of mind, body and spirit of our residents at large.
Missouri Heights, Carbondale
Questioning Glenwood housing proposal
According to the city planner, staff is asking City Council for approval to go forward in partnering with developers on affordable housing. Both sites are on city property (Eighth and Midland and the Airport Road property) for a total of 21 units. I believe both properties have been used in the past by the city, which could mean it would take a vote by the citizens to OK such projects. I know that the property on Eighth and Midland has been used for staging of materials for projects in that area and so has the Airport Road property.
I am not against affordable housing, but what is “affordable,” and will we ever have enough to supply the need?
I think that council should first get approval from the citizens before spending any money or staff time on these two projects. I have noted in my previous letters that building on the corner of Eighth and Midland would only increase the congestion in that area; south Midland is already overloaded.
When I was on council from 1999-2003, we purchased the property on Eighth and Midland for future right of way use and as a buffer zone for the neighborhood. I hope the city will not adhere to the report (R2Partners) that was used for West Glenwood that we have a shortage of 2,000 housing units, as an excuse to keep approving more projects. What is that based on — building out to the max? Does Glenwood Springs have the water, infrastructure and services to build out to the max? I do not think so.
I am still looking forward to hearing from City Council on a study (that is needed) on how much of a reliable source of water we have. That means historical flows, not how much cubic feet per second the city owns. The projection for water supply on the Western Slope looks very grim.
Don “Hooner” Gillespie
We are finally turning the corner on beating COVID-19. As of today more than 60% of Americans have been given at least one vaccination. Our hearts go out to those who died from this pandemic. My hat goes off to every health care worker who made it their mission to keep us all safe. And to never forget the 3,000-plus health care workers who died while trying to save the rest of us.
And in Colorado, as well as the nation, there are still the anti-vaxxers trying to make themselves heard. They are on the news cycles now, too, but by next August, it won’t matter anyway, because there will come a time when only that segment of the country will be able to infect each other but not us.
What our government did was monumental in attacking this pandemic, and just the logistics alone were considered impossible until now.
Now it is time to say what many of us are thinking; why should we waste any time giving any Republican credit for anything now? The Lauren Boeberts in Washington, D.C., have circled their wagons, appointed Donald Trump as their king and are currently living in fantasy land. We will not see anything positive come from them for at least the next four years.
Tribalism and silly talking points is all they have left. The infrastructure bill will pass, and hopefully the For the People Act to protect our right to vote will pass.
Good things are coming. And it finally feels really good.
Grizzly wake-up call
While taking a walk through Glenwood Canyon, I couldn’t help but think of the restorative power of fire along the way. Not only for the land and wildlife but also for the surrounding communities. Did we learn from how quickly things can change and how the safety of residents should take precedence over all else? As plants begin to regrow, I hope our leaders, too, have utilized this reset to grow and reflect on what our town can be.
We are only going to get hotter and drier. The Drought Monitor claims all of Garfield County is in extreme to exceptional drought. If “sustainability is the key foundation of the 2011 Glenwood Springs Comprehensive Plan (GWSCP),” our leaders must pay heed to the words within this document before continuing to develop within this tight mountain corridor. Vulnerability studies and communitywide evacuation protocols are also needed before we continue growing inward and upward.
The R2 Partnership proposal of 360 units behind the old West Glenwood Mall puts lives at risk. The Wildland Urban Interface Community Wildfire Protection Plan of 2007 gave West Glenwood a hazard rating of very high to extreme. With more spaces going in at Ami’s Acres, the addition of all the cars at Six Canyons and continued growth at the Meadows, the addition of 1,000-plus people/cars is an overwhelming thought in this at-risk location of town.
The GWSCP Vision Statement speaks of “preserving small town character while maintaining livability.” We are not prepared for a development of this size on this property. According to the GWSCP, the fiscally sustainable action is to focus on “inward growth (and taking) advantage of existing services and infrastructure.” Therefore, building on this property is not following these guidelines. Protecting this precious mountain landscape and preserving the ecosystems that sustain us, while “ensuring that the benefits of development are distributed evenly across society” are issues worth speaking up for. If living within our means is the goal, it will only be through engaged citizenry that this “sustainable” future is possible.
You have probably received your ballot in the mail by now for the Holy Cross Energy board of directors. This board has made a huge contribution to protecting and improving our communities by their dedication to renewable energy, at the same time saving money for Holy Cross co-op members.
Kristen Bertuglia has once again stepped up to run for re-election to the board. Kristen’s deep understanding of the energy and utility industry, energy policies and programs, and leadership of a co-op make her uniquely qualified to serve as a director. Her experience will serve us well.
Kristen has served on the board for nine years. She is always available to community members, listening to concerns and sharing ideas. She is a dedicated community leader with a long-term vision for sustainability and our mountain quality of life. She has recently championed the pro-active investment in protecting the Holy Cross system from wildfire.
There are many candidates running for the two seats in the Northern District. I urge you to choose carefully and to cast one of your votes for the imminently qualified Kristen Bertuglia.
Vote HCE slate
Over 15 years ago, as a coalition began working with Holy Cross Energy to increase clean power supply, there was a 30-year employee who understood what we were doing.
He wasn’t a radical, but he supported the work behind the scenes and also focused on equity and fiscal responsibility. And when he retired, he joined the board and helped steer the utility to a nation-leading clean energy future.
That guy is Bob Gardner, and I’m supporting him in his run for the board to finish this important work. Allied in that effort in the Northern District are Kristen Bertuglia (another incumbent responsible for Holy Cross’ clean energy revolution and a sustainability leader in the Vail valley) and Kristen Hartel, who has both green building and renewable energy experience.
The Kristens are best suited to expand our clean energy future with stable prices and reliable service and enjoy the support of a broad coalition. Voting this slate in your mail-in ballots will prevent a split election and ensure continued progress at Holy Cross.
More houses, more closures
Three Interstate 70 closures in one week. Traffic backed up for many hours. West Glenwood residents would not have been able to get out.
With an additional 360 units proposed, our lives would have been in grave danger. Enough is enough. We are full. No vacancy. For the safety and welfare of our residents, the 360 units cannot go forward.
Please visit West Glenwood pasture development on Facebook.
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