Update Sept 2015 – Budget, Homeless, and More!

I am five months into my four-year term of serving you as Councilor-at-large on Glenwood Springs City Council. It is a privilege to be a part of such a great city and I am honored to work with other city council members, city staff, local business and citizens to help guide Glenwood through the next three and a half years.  It is likely to be some of the best times that Glenwood has seen, as well as some of the most difficult. 

One of my election promises was better communication and I have not been as good at that as I had hoped.  So, to that end, as a start I plan to provide a monthly update that will include a brief description of meetings and events I have attended as well as a bit about one or more city departments.  Sometimes it may seem like nothing is happening and things do move more slowly than we all would like. But picture a duck on the Colorado River.  On the top, the duck looks calm and seems to be floating along, but below the surface, that duck’s feet are paddling like crazy.  So goes it with city hall.

Finance Department

Charles KeltySince we are deep into budget season, the first department I would like to highlight is the Finance Department, headed by Charles Kelty. Charles took over the reins from Mike Harman who retired earlier this year after 24 years as the Finance Director. Charles spent nine years as the finance director in Rifle and had a Master’s Degree in Accounting. Finance handles all of the city’s payroll, utility billing, tax administration, purchasing and building maintenance as well as making sure the city’s bills are paid and collecting funds owed to the city.

Staff includes Yvette Gustad, Assistant Finance Director; Ricky Smith, Purchasing Agent; Karen Bender, Janice Palacio, Linda Millyard and Candie Vandermark, all Senior Accounting Techs and Martha Gonzales and Elida Trujillo Solano the ladies who keep city hall sparkling clean. When you come to pay your utility bills or pick up a bus pass, these are the staff you see and are often the main contact for people dealing with city hall.

Taking the city through the budget process is no easy task and involves hours of the finance department’s time as well as a great deal of time from City Manager Jeff Hecksel and all department supervisors. Beginning Sept 29, the city will begin holding meetings with City Council, the Financial Advisory Board, and department heads to review the proposed budget, line by line. A schedule of these meetings is provided below. These are public meetings and the public is encouraged to attend.  A preliminary draft budget should be available on the City’s website when the budget work sessions begin.

Budget Work Session Schedule:

Sept 29 – 5pm -7 pm

Oct 8Special Meeting, DDA & Budget 6pm-9pm

Oct 154pm – 6pm

Oct 20Special Meeting 6pm-9pm

Oct 29Special Meeting 6pm-9pm

Nov 5if needed

All budget work sessions will be held in council chambers at city hall.

Monthly Update – meetings and events I attended

Grand Ave Bridge:  Met with representatives from Glenwood Springs Chamber, CDOT, DDA and city staff to discuss public information plans for the Grand Avenue Bridge Project August 27 2015.

Transportation Commission Sept 1, 2015:  I serve as the alternate council liaison to this commission.  Mayor Mike Gamba is the liaison.  Discussion items included the Blake Avenue Gate between Walmart and the RFTA BRT station on 27th as well as traffic calming measures on the residential streets in the downtown area.  Terri Partch, City Engineer and Geoff Guthrie, City Transportation Manager discussed the proposed multi-use path along Midland, from Lowes to Interchange 114, 27th Street Bridge and touched on RFTA’s Access Control Plan.  They updated on the Grand Avenue Bridge and 8th Street extension projects as well as discussing who will represent this commission on the Acquisitions and Improvement (A&I) tax working group.  The Transportation Commission is finalizing the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and determining next steps.  This commission always has a great deal to discuss and it seems like never enough time!

Ride-along with GSPD Sept 4, 2015:  I was privileged to be able to ride and walk with several officers from the police department  from 6 p.m. to about 2:30 a.m. It was a great experience, one I hope to do again. You can read more about my thoughts here.  My thanks to Officers Noel, Crawford, Cole, Gobbo, Miller, Dietrich, Yorty,  and Lawson as well as Code Enforcement Officer Springer, Detective Sergeant Hassell, and Patrol Sergeant Prough for putting up with all of my questions and taking the time to talk with me.

Colorado Municipal League (CML) District 11 Meeting in Silt Sept 9, 2015:  CML provides  training and information on issues of concern to counties and municipalities.  It is also a great chance to talk with other staff and elected officials from other communities in our area. Mayor Rick Aluise presented a wonderful powerpoint on the accomplishments that have taken place in Silt in the recent year.

Roaring Fork Transit Authority Board Meeting (RFTA) Sept 10, 2015:  I serve as the alternate council liaison to this board.  Mayor Mike Gamba is the liaison.  Discussion items included a presentation of the first draft of RFTA’s 2016 budget and an update of the Rio Grande Corridor Access Control Plan.  License for access to the Rio Grande Trail was granted to ACES Rock Bottom Ranch

Take Back Your Power Sept 10, 2015:  At the invitation of Marilyn Shettel, I attended a screening of a documentary “Take Back Your Power.”  It raised some interesting questions and I will be talking more with Ms. Shuttle in the near future.

We’ve Got Your Back!  Sept. 11, 2015:  This was a hastily thrown together “thank you” to area law enforcement and first responders in our region from Aspen to Parachute.  For being planned in less than 36 hours, it was well attended.  I have received requests from community members to turn this into an annual event and make it bigger. We’ll work on that!

Club 20 Fall Meeting Sept. 12, 2015:  This was my first Club 20 meeting and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing U.S. Congressman Scott Tipton and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet on things happening statewide and nationally. I also received lessons from Henry Sobanet, Governor Hickenlooper’s Budget Director on Colorado’s fiscal challenges and from Mark Hermundstad on water regulations and impacts on Colorado’s Western Slope. The networking was also wonderful!

Garfield County Economic Development Partners Sept 16, 2015:  This is a group of staff and elected officials from various entities throughout Garfield County that meet quarterly to review what is happening in Garfield County. RFTA presented their 2015 Travel Plan Study.  The roundtable is particularly useful to know what other communities are working on and to provide opportunities for partnership and coordination.

In addition we have had two City Council meetings which included a work session on the Confluence Area and a work session with the Planning and Zoning Commission.

***MARK YOUR CALENDARS***

Community Discussion: The Effect of the Growing Homeless & Vagrant Population in Glenwood Springs

Monday, October 5, 2015

6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Glenwood Springs Community Center

Coming up this week: 

Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting Tuesday, Sept. 22

City Staff Employee Picnic Friday, Sept 25 – City Hall closed from Noon to 2 p.m.

Fire Department’s Open House Saturday Sept 26!  The Fire Department’s Open House is always fun for all ages so come on down from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the downtown fire station at 8th & Cooper.

Board and Commission Openings:  apply here!

Planning and Zoning:  1 Alternate

River Commission: 1 Alternate

Victims and Witness Assistance & Law Enforcement Board (VALE): 1 Alternate

Board of Appeals: 1 Alternate

Parks and Recreation: 1 Alternate

With Public Sentiment, Nothing Can Fail

Lincoln“In this and like communities, public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently he who moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.”

Abraham Lincoln

Many decisions are not easy. Challenging decisions, where there are no clear-cut answers are particularly troublesome.  For City Council, whose decisions will affect the citizens of Glenwood Springs for years, these decisions weigh very heavily.  I have heard it said by those in this community that this Council does not listen to the citizens of Glenwood Springs.   I believe the events within council chambers tonight might make at least a few people think otherwise.

The above Lincoln quote was from the Lincoln-Douglas Debate of 1858 and it has certainly held true this evening.  Public sentiment has been building for an elevator option only for the Grand Avenue Pedestrian Bridge, which, once again was evidenced by the citizens who addressed Council this evening.

While there are indeed benefits to having a ramp included in the design, the overwhelming public sentiment was that, at this time, given these circumstances, an elevator would be the best choice for Glenwood Springs for now and into the future. 

double elevator from 7th & Cooper

Not everyone was in agreement.  As Jeremy Hyman pointed out, Jim Charlier of Charlier & Associates, who presented a white paper to City Council analyzing the costs and benefits, had once stated that Glenwood needs to be at the forefront of the bicycle tourism movement due to the world class biking we have available.  That means convenient access to downtown and a good connection with the bike paths and routes in the area. He did not think that could be met with an elevator only option.                 

However, many, including Leslie Bethel, Charlie Willman, Dean Gordon, Bob Patillo, David Hauter, Steve Carver, and others spoke of the vision for Glenwood. That vision does not include a ramp.  We were reminded that the citizens of Glenwood, among them Floyd Diemoz, who also spoke this evening, were not content with the original vision of Glenwood Canyon and said, “we can do better” and “better” ended up with a truly world famous design that moves vehicles through our canyon without destroying it.

The citizens of Glenwood Springs are a tough group with extremely high standards and expectations.  And, in this case, City Council listened.  There were many on council who, in the beginning, staunchly favored a ramp.  To paraphrase Councilman Stephen Bershenyi, it is sometime hard to see past what is already in place to vision what could be. 

http___www.coloradodot.info_projects_sh82grandavenuebridge_assets_PedRampElevatorCityCouncilPacketDecember192013

The ongoing operational costs were a sticking point for both Mayor Leo McKinney and Councilman Matt Steckler.  “How are we going to pay for this?” was an issue raised by Mayor McKinney.  That argument is absolutely valid.  The city is facing a deficit in the 2014 budget.  However, as Councilman Michael Gamba pointed out, this is not a cost that will be incurred tomorrow.  The City has some time to figure out the best funding mechanism, which could include lease payments from the planned improvements along the north side of 7th Street to allow those restaurants to have outdoor dining, from street vendors along the pedestrian bridge or other sources. 

Councilman Ted Edmonds pointed out that not only do we need to look at the potential costs the city will incur, but also the potential for enhanced revenue from an superior experience that both tourists and locals will have. 

Usually the one listening and taking notes, I found it impossible not to add my two cents into the discussion this evening.  As I mentioned to Council, I can – and have – argued both sides of this argument.  I think being fiscally responsible is critical.  However, in this case, the ongoing costs, even at the highest estimate, were less than I thought they might be.   In this case, the vision, and the aspirations I have for Glenwood weighed more heavily than the potential ongoing cost.  Like many others, I asked Council to consider the option proposed for two elevators with a backup generator.

So what were my reasons?  I think it best meets the intent of the Comprehensive Plan adopted by the City in 2011 as well as providing reasonable ADA access. The Comp Plan specifically stated that a goal was to “ensure an attractive community.”  As Mr. Hyman and Mayor McKinney noted we need to continue to build interconnectivity and promote multimodal transportation.  However, I don’t see the elevator option as excluding that.  Additionally, there is ongoing discussion about ways to enhance the connectivity with the Rio Grande Trail and the Glenwood Canyon bike path.

So, yes, like several Council members, I have come full circle on this item after sifting through  a lot of information and listening to the “public sentiment.”  Council voted, by a five to two vote, to move forward with a recommendation for a double elevator with a backup generator. Councilor Stecker and Mayor McKinney cast the dissenting votes.

As Ms. Bethel stated, Glenwood Springs is at the cusp of some very exciting things happening.  It is time to take Glenwood Springs from a really “cool” town into a world-class resort community.  Now is not the time to cut corners. Now is the time to have the vision for what Glenwood “could” be as our business and civic leaders did years ago with Glenwood Canyon.  And public . . . are you listening?  Public sentiment and public involvement DOES matter.  “With public sentiment, nothing can fail!” 

 

Can WE make 2014 Glenwood’s Best Year Ever?

Happy New YearI don’t know about you but I am not big on making New Year’s Resolutions. Honestly, the typical things, exercise more, lose weight, eat healthy, etc. don’t resonate with me for a number of reasons.  I simply don’t connect with them on an emotional level.  For that reason, in years past – many years ago –  when I have made such resolutions, my resolve fails in about a month . . . at the most.  Then I spend the rest of the year beating myself up for not keeping the resolutions.  So . . . I rarely make resolutions.  This year I am trying something different and setting some goals.  Yes – to me there is a difference and I may share why in a future blog.

 

ContributeHowever, there is one thing that has made a huge difference in my life in recent years: community involvement.  By nature, I tend to be a bit of an introvert. For years my life was work and family – a small circle.  But several years ago I stepped out of my little circle and volunteered for a couple of boards for the City of Glenwood.  In the years since I have made some wonderful friends and great connections because of this participation.  What an enlightening and rewarding experience this has been!

Whatever time you have, whatever your interests, there are opportunities to be involved, get to know your community and to meet some really great people.  What follows is a short list of volunteer opportunities that I would encourage you to consider in 2014.  Your assistance will be of great value to the community and what you get in return goes beyond words!

Let me know what your plans are for 2014.  What ideas – large or small – do you have to make 2014 Glenwood’s best year ever?

City of Glenwood Springs:

New appointments are made by City Council in February but applications should be submitted by January. Applications for current openings are accepted any time.  Application forms may be found on the City web site:  http://cogs.us/boards/applications.htm

  • Airport Board: 4 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Building Board of Appeals:  2 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Financial Advisory Board:  2 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Historic Preservation Commission: 1 opening now, 4 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Parks and Recreation Commission: 2 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Planning and Zoning Commission: 3 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • River Commission: 1 opening now, 2 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Transportation Commission: 2 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Tourism Board: 2 seats due for appointment in February 2014
  • Victims and Law Enforcement Board: 1 opening now, 3 seats due for appointment in February 2014

Downtown Partnership:

Frontier Historical Museum

Literacy Outreach

  • 970-945-5282

Advocate Safehouse

Valley View Hospital

 Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE)

High Country RSVP

  • 888-977-9220 contact Patty Daniells

Lift UP

 Feed My Sheep 

  •  970-928-8340

Salvation Army

  • (970) 945-6976

Habitat for Humanity 

  •  Geneva Farr at 970-309-3088

 

Dialogue – the way it was meant to be . . .

“When we face problems or disagreements today, we have to arrive at solutions through dialogue. Dialogue is the only appropriate method. One-sided victory is no longer relevant. We must work to resolve conflicts in a spirit of reconciliation and always keep in mind the interests of others. We cannot destroy our neighbors! We cannot ignore their interests! Doing so would ultimately cause us to suffer.”

Dalai Lama

Over the past five weeks a group of 24 Glenwood Springs citizens have come together over pizza and salad with the help of the folks at the Sonoran Institute in the Glenwood Springs Community Development Academy.  This CDA has involved residents of all ages, with a variety of occupations, some who have been lifelong inhabitants, others who have been in Glenwood for only relatively short period of time. There are business owners, retired individuals, realtors, engineers, artists, financial advisors, educators.  There are those that work in healthcare, in government, in the legal profession, mediators, architects, and work with community development organizations. While a diverse group, these townspeople have not gathered out of conflict but of interest. They have the interest of our community and our neighbors and even our pets at heart.

CDA_2_conference_room

GWS CDA Photo courtesy of the Sonoran Institute

We are slightly over half way through the academy and no matter how drained I may feel after a Monday at work, I always look forward to the lively discussion and respectful exchange of ideas that takes place during the two and a half hours we are together.  Two weeks ago I flew from Dallas to Grand Junction and drove back just in time sit in on the meeting.  Suffice it to say, I value the time we are together.

Thus far, discussions have included looked at elements of successful communities,  leadership & effective decision making, assets, liabilities and community vision, and housing.  Of course no discussion in Glenwood would be complete without talking about subjects near and dear to my heart land use decisions and the impact they have on transportation.

traffic-cartoonJeremy Nelson, with Vialta Group, was the guest speaker last Monday and gave an excellent presentation outlining how our policies, things like the Comprehensive Plans, extol values such as affordable housing, creating mixed-use neighborhoods,  encouraging alternative modes of transportation and creating pedestrian and bicycle safe streets.

Unfortunately, reality is often quite different.  He discussed how frustrated he was, as a visitor to our city, trying to cross Grand Avenue at 8th Street with the extremely long signal sequence.   He pointed out that what signage we have directing our guests to parking, trails and information are few, in poor locations and unreadable to the average person.  He noted that although the speed limit is posted as 25 mph, the further south on Grand Avenue one travels, the faster the traffic moves.  He stated that was partially due to land use decisions we have made with parking lots fronting Grand and extensive building setbacks – giving a more wide-open feeling – leading to increased speeds.

One thing he did mention, which quite frankly surprised some people, was that one of the key principles of smart mobility strategy is that congestion equals economic activity.  He acknowledged that many communities would love to have the traffic that we consider a problem.  He also stated that transportation, like life, is all about tradeoffs.

The next few weeks should provide for more interesting discussion among the group as we talk about such things as barriers and opportunities for redevelopment and revitalization and learn tools for implementing plans focusing on zoning and form-based codes.  Being a bit of a nerd, this stuff is absolutely fascinating to me.  But perhaps the session I am most looking forward to will be the final gathering.  During this meeting, the folks at the Sonoran Institute have assured us that we will learn best practices for fostering increased public participation and nurturing community leadership.  I am looking forward to this session because as I look around the room at the participants in the CDA, I see the future leaders of Glenwood Springs. I sincerely hope that many of these participants will take the next step and continue their participation in the community by remaining involved in the discussions and contributing to the solutions. These will be the men and women who take Glenwood Springs to the next level.

I want to leave you with a question and I would love to hear your responses:  What can we, as a community, do to develop our future leaders?

 

Top priorities for Glenwood . . .are there others?

At the end of a recent blog post http://wp.me/p3S5Sv-3v I asked the question, “What do you think are the three top priorities that Glenwood should be addressing over the next 3 years?”   Some of the responses I received were expected and some were surprising.

 As promised, here are the results I have received thus far.  I have put them in alphabetical order, so there is no ranking involved.   Along with the larger categories are a few comments associated with the items.

Small beach on Roaring Fork River in Confluence area

 

  •  Authenticity
    •         Offer a more authentic experience for Glenwood visitors
    •         Emphasis on natural outdoor experience and healthy recreation and living
    •         Promotion of visual and performing arts
  • Communication
    •         Find ways to increase communication with citizens
    •         Innovative and multiple ways to communicate
    •         Develop methods/techniques/means for citizens to talk with elected    officials, boards and commissions
    •         Ongoing dialog needed – citizens get frustrated and give up
    •         Make information easily and readily accessible to the public
    •         Increase transparency
  • Confluence Redevelopment
    •         Make this are area that pulls the town together
    •         Make this a focal point for Glenwood
  • Economic Development
    •         Long-term, sustainable economic development needed
    •         Shared vision and strategy
    •         Public-Private Partnerships
    •         Work within the community to define direction and priorities
  • Housing
    •         Expand in-town choices
    •         More inventory needed in core areas
  • Leadership
    •         Identify and develop leaders in the community
    •         Determine how to get new, different, younger people involved
    •         Improve the working relationship between City staff, elected officials, boards and commission
    •         Expand communication, cooperation and collaboration with other governmental entities within the region
  • Long-term Fiscal Health
    •         Develop strategies for dealing with an increasing demand for infrastructure, services and long-term operations/maintenance
    •         Seek ways to increase efficiencies in providing services
    •         Increase the cooperation between community development and capital improvement planning
    •         Identify efficient patterns of growth

 Grand Ave by Sacred Grounds 4-5-13

  • Mobility/Transportation
    •         Improve connectivity of local network
    •         Improve bike/pedestrian facilities on existing streets
    •         Improve coordination between land use patterns and transit system – regionally
    •         Complete the Grand Avenue Bridge to maximize the benefit to Glenwood Springs and the entire region
    •         Make the hard decisions to improve north/south travel through Glenwood with an eye on practicality and the chance of it actually getting to completion
    •         Develop a Regional Transportation Master Plan
    •         Development of  Midland Avenue as an alternate route is waiting to happen
    •         Completion of South Bridge is critical
    •         Need an 8th Street connection to Midland Avenue
    •         A 14th Street connection to Midland Avenue is needed
    •         27th Street Bridge must be improved

 

6th Street Looking East Spring 2013

  • North Glenwood
    •         Currently blighted but new bridge alignment provides motivation for a new vision
    •         Has the location, infrastructure, businesses, entrepreneurs and property owners to partner with City
    •         Need to identify leaders to make this happen
  • Performing Arts Facility
    •         Focus energy on planning for the best possible facility in the best possible location

My intention is to make this an ongoing list and to address each item in upcoming posts.  Do you have additional items that should be added to this list?  Would you like to comment on any of the suggestions?  If so, please do!  You can comment on this blog or submit a comment via the form at the end of the blog.  Thanks to all who contributed and I hope to be able to continue the conversation with each of you.

I am pleased to have been selected by the Sonoran Institute to attend the Glenwood Springs Community Development Academy which will be commencing Monday evening, September 16th.  I hope to tell you about some of the discussions as we progress through the eight week journey to make Glenwood Springs even better than it is now.

Are we operating in a silo?

clip-art-cows-762211

Are our boards and commissions – and maybe even City Council – operating in a silo?

I invite you to read my second article published in www.PlannerWeb.com.  I welcome your comments!

http://plannersweb.com/2013/09/are-your-boards-territory-folks/?goback=%2Egmr_2463680%2Egde_2463680_member_272594505#%21

 

WANTED: Community Leaders!

If you are reader of the Our Town blog, I bet you love Glenwood Springs, love being “in the know” about the issues facing our town, and want to make a positive impact in our community.  If any of those things are true about you, you really ought to consider applying for the upcoming Glenwood Springs Community Development Academy, a dynamic training program sponsored by the Sonoran Institute and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association

What would you learn in this program?  Over eight weekly sessions, you will discuss choices and issues facing Glenwood Springs, as well as the role of effective leadership and decision-making in creating successful communities.  Have you ever wondered how transportation-related decisions affect business viability?  Or how housing choices are connected to economic development?  Or what a community can do to nurture leadership and public engagement for sound decision-making?  And what can we as a community be doing RIGHT NOW to address all of these questions?

You will be able to explore these pressing questions (and more!) with regional experts in the Glenwood Springs Community Development Academy. 

The course will take place on Monday nights in Glenwood Springs from 5:30pm – 8:00pm from September 16 to November 4.  The cost for the 8-week course is $100, which includes all materials and catered dinners.  Limited scholarships are available for the course, so don’t let the price tag scare you off if you are interested in participating.

Heads up – class size is limited and applications must be received by 5pm on Friday, September 6.  For further information, please contact Jillian Sutherland at the Sonoran Institute by calling 970-384-4364 extension 4002 or by email at jsutherland@sonoraninstitute.org.

Image

Participants from the 2012 Garfield County CDA explore redevelopment concepts with Chuck Perry, a nationally-recognized expert in community based planning.

What’s the Matter With Using Social Media? | PlannersWeb

An excellent article by Della Rucker – worth the read!

What's the Matter With Using Social Media? | PlannersWeb.

Turn! Turn! Turn!

Apricot Tree in full bloom!
Apricot Tree

Apricot Tree

Some of us remember the song, Turn! Turn! Turn! written by Pete Seeger and made popular by the Byrds in 1965.  The song is based on Ecclesiastes3:1-8 (NIV)

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

In my back yard, my fruit trees are blooming and a pair of little finches furiously building a nest above my front door.  My 17-year-old cat stands guard at the door waiting to be allowed outside to bask in the warmth of the sun on our deck. My very shaggy Goldendoodle and Cairn terrier are in desperate need of a clipping to keep them cool. Snow is giving way to rain. Yes, the seasons are changing and I welcome it with open arms.

Change is in the air at City Hall as well.  I welcome a new Mayor, Leo McKinney and thank Matt Steckler for his time while serving as Mayor.  Councilor Steckler continues to serve as a very effective member of City Council.  Both Councilor Steckler and now-Mayor McKinney ran unopposed in April’s election.  Congratulations go out to Stephen Bershenyi, our resident blacksmith, for winning re-election to a second term in City Council against Lyle Beattie.   Mr. Beattie should be commended for stepping up and throwing his hat in the ring.   I hope I am half as engaged and energetic as he is in a few years.  What a dedicated public servant he has been for Glenwood Springs over the years!

Dave Sturges, while willing and capable, did not succeed in his wish to become mayor. Still, he serves a very valuable leadership role on City Council.  While he has been known to pontificate, he brings a balancing opinion to this council. His extensive background and experience serves him well in this role. Besides, he is just a nice guy to talk with.

The remaining three City Council members, not up for re-election this year, continue to serve this community well, if not contentiously.  Todd Leahy and Mike Gamba bring a decidedly conservative perspective.  Both Councilor Leahy and Gamba bring a down-to-earth, realistic view of issues.  They have had the opportunity to see the concerns and issues from a developer/engineer side as well as from the apparently thankless position on the dais. I admire their straight-forward attitude.

Councilor Ted Edmonds is still the most enigmatic of our City Council members to me.  A numbers guy, I am told, he is probably the least loquacious member of Council, but he continues to surprise me.

At any rate – tonight’s City Council meeting had a slightly different tenor. There was a discussion of the Thompson Divide Lease Suspension of which there was unanimous Council support for an Appeal of the BLM decision, prepared by Pitkin County.

Of course the Access Control Plan (ACP) drew much of the usual crowd; John Haines, Karen Price, Hal Sundin, Cheryl Cain, Tony Rosa and Terry Stark.  While many complained that there is still no dialog between Council and the opponents of the ACP and/or the bridge, both Council and the group, most of which are part of the Citizens to Save Grand Avenue (C2SGA) seemed to be amenable to sitting down, possibly over a bowl of spaghetti –with proper public notice of course – and further discussing matters.  Of course there is always the phone – all of the City Council contact information is available on the City’s website:  http://www.cogs.us/council/contact.htm

And Councilor Bershenyi’s Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-Bershenyi-City-council-news/485499551498590?fref=ts

And of course – there is this blog – which welcomes comments and guest contributions.

Terry Stark raised a good point – one that I hope to address more satisfactorily than I have in the past – and that is:  Show me the facts that the ACP will help – or at least not damage – the local economy and local businesses.   Stay tuned.

Still there is a call for a Transportation Master plan.  Since I am such a new member of the Transportation Commission, I don’t feel qualified to comment other than to remind everyone that you are welcome to come to the City of Glenwood Springs Transportation Commission meetings.  The next one is Tuesday, May 7th, at 7:30 a.m. in the Engineering Department conference room on the 2nd floor of City Hall.  BYOC (Bring your own coffee . . . I learned that my first meeting . . .)

While I am on the subject of Boards and Commissions – here is a GOLDEN opportunity for you to be involved in your community . . .  The Planning and Zoning Commission is looking for two community members to serve as alternates on the Planning Commission.  We meet monthly and sometimes hold a work session as well.  It does require a commitment of time, but you will be making a valuable contribution to the community!  Contact me at 379-4849 or ktrauger@rof.net if you want more information.

One more reminder – a design charrette (fancy French term for meeting where everyone can comment and participate) for the Confluence area will be held May 21st through 23rd.  This is a very vital piece of our town and your recommendations, input, comments are critical.  More information will be forthcoming shortly.

Stay tuned as well for an update on the Grand Avenue Bridge project . . .

Spring is upon us in Glenwood Springs. And what a glorious time it is!   Here’s to a renewed energy toward cooperation, consensus building and moving forward.  There is a season . . . and a time for everything under Heaven . . .  and our time is now.

Chance to Comment on CDOT’s Guide to Transportation Planning and Programming Public Involvement

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I wanted to pass along a chance to comment on CDOT’s Guide to Transportation Planning and Programming Public Involvement Process.  The following is from CDOT’s website.  I would encourage you to review and submit your comments to Aaron Willis.

http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/statewide-planning/public-involvement.html

Public Involvement

Overview of the Statewide Public Involvement Process

Public participation is a critical element in developing the Regional and Statewide transportation plans. Public participation provides an opportunity for citizens to gain a fundamental understanding of the regional and statewide transportation planning process and participate in long-range transportation plan development.

If you are interested in participating in public involvement activities or having your name added to our mailing list, please e-mail Aaron Willis at aaron.willis@state.co.us and provide us your name, e-mail address and mailing address. Or contact Aaron via phone at: 303-512-4019.

Additional ongoing efforts include STAC meetings and STIP Amendments. Please click on the links to find information regarding these efforts.


Guide to the Transportation Planning and Programming Public Involvement Process

CDOT- Division of Transportation Development has recently developed a Guide to the Transportation Planning and Programming Public Involvement Process. This document is now available for public review and comment period. This document provides overarching public involvement guidance and satisfies the federal requirement that the Department provide a process for public involvement in the development of the long-range statewide transportation plan and the STIP in accordance with §450.210 (2) Code of Federal Regulations.

Please review and provide comments on this documented process. This document is located at the link provided below and a hard copy can be mailed upon request. Comments can be made during the 45-day public comment period using the online comment submission form, e-mail, or mail. All comments are due by June 5, 2013. Please direct any comments or questions to Aaron Willis.

Access the Guide to the Transportation Planning and Programming Public Involvement Process by clicking here.