As the weather breaks, so does the ground for some snazzy improvements to downtown Glenwood Springs! So what is in the works?
- 7th Street from Grand Avenue to Blake will see wider sidewalks
- The parking structure at 9th and Cooper and the parking area between the Fire Department and Methodist church will see sidewalk and landscape improvements
- The Alley on the west side of Grand, between 7th and 8th Street – from Grand to Colorado will be “transformed”
No doubt, the 7th Street project gets top billing. Designed to double the width of the sidewalks and provide a venue for outdoor, café-style dining, along the south side of 7th Street between Grand Avenue and Blake, this project is not without controversy. Among other things, the project requires the removal of several parking spaces, most of which will be made up with the revision to the parking area south of the fire station. Leslie Bethel, Executive Director of the DDA also noted that the minor loss is parking is also offset by several new parking areas in the downtown, including the new parking structure at 9th and Cooper and the CMC parking garage, which is available to the public in the evening and on weekends. Additionally, the county has completed surface parking areas along Colorado, between 7th & 8th streets. Bethel also emphasized the DDA’s efforts to “spread the improvements around downtown.” This project should draw locals and visitors to the downtown to dine, shop and linger to enjoy the atmosphere of this unique area. The benefits should be felt throughout the downtown and all of Glenwood. Most of the restaurants in this area plan to remain open during construction. Glenwood Canyon Brewpub will be closed from April 7 to April 23.
Perhaps one of the most delightful opportunities associated with this project are the alleyway improvements to take place between the Silver Club building and 711 Grand. The DDA and 711 Grand LLC have partnered to make significant improvements to this often used pedestrian access from parking on Colorado to businesses on Grand. The DDA will resurface the alley, including a concrete walkway with brick detailing. The owners and tenants of 711 Grand LLC, which will include two new restaurants, The Lost Cajun and Smoke, are funding other improvements including lighting, overhead string lighting, railings, planters and furniture. The Lost Cajun and Smoke are set to open in the coming months. Improvements to this area have been discussed for years and these improvements, along with the new restaurants will likely create a charming setting that will be a jewel for the downtown area.
Parking Structure/Parking Lot Landscaping
The new parking structure at 9th and Cooper and the parking area south of the fire station along Cooper are well used but lack the character that is desired for the downtown area. The DDA is planning a reconfiguration of the parking area along Cooper between 8th and 9th to add 10 parking spaces as well as lighting, landscaping, seating and other improvements that should add to the attractiveness and vitality along this area. According to the DDA, this project should be complete in early summer, just in time for the Downtown Market every Tuesday evening in this area.
Funding for these projects totaled $1 million, $800,000 of which was a grant from the Garfield County Oil and Gas Mitigation Fund and $200,000 from the DDA general fund. The City of Glenwood is also a partner in the project with in-kind public works support. All the projects are scheduled for completion by early June.
With this season’s ground breaking news, the DDA, Garfield County and the City of Glenwood should be commended for making these projects happen. Those of us watching improvements in downtown and elsewhere in Glenwood are anxiously asking, what’s next? Bethel indicated that there are some great plans in the works including a master plan for the alleys, the promenade on the north side of 7th with connection to the confluence area. She stated that the DDA is working on some “great ideas” for downtown area on the north side of the Colorado River, along 6th.
What do you think should be included in the DDA’s vision of downtown? Personally, I would like to see some improvements along Cooper, between 7th and 8th as well as along Grand and 8th Street on both sides of Grand. Are there other areas of Glenwood Springs, where smaller improvements could lead to increased energy and life in our community? If you have a suggestion, let me know.