Glenwood prepared to buy site at 8th and Cooper |

Glenwood prepared to buy site at 8th and Cooper

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The city of Glenwood Springs is under contract to buy property along Cooper Avenue at 8th Street, in hopes that it might become the site for a new Glenwood Springs library, a public parking structure and other uses.

An actual decision to close on the property is pending the outcome of ongoing negotiations between the city government, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), the Garfield County Public Library District and others regarding the eventual use of the site, City Manager Jeff Hecksel said.

But the move is a significant step in the city’s effort to keep the library downtown when the old one at 9th and Blake is eventually replaced.

“Those negotiations are ongoing,” Hecksel said. “But we have this opportunity, and we wanted to proceed.”

Hecksel could not reveal a contract price, but city council on Thursday appropriated another $1 million out of the city’s landfill surplus funds to be used for the purchase should the city choose to close on the deal.

That’s in addition to $1 million that was already appropriated in 2010, bringing the total available to close the deal to $2 million. Hecksel also could not give a time frame for closing, saying it depends on the negotiations.

The city has been working with the DDA and the library district, as well as Colorado Mountain College, to jointly develop the 0.6-acre site for a new library, CMC facilities and additional downtown parking.

The property is currently owned by the same consortium of individuals who own the adjacent building at the corner of 8th Street and Grand Avenue that houses US Bank’s downtown location.

“There are lots of potential upsides to this deal, and not a lot of downsides that I can see,” Councilman Matt Steckler said. “It’s a good thing, it’s good for the community, and I support it.”

The library negotiations are part of a larger study in which the DDA hired a design team to look at various redevelopment scenarios and financing options involving several downtown properties.

The design team, Canyon Springs Development, LLC, includes legendary Denver urban redevelopment planner Dana Crawford. She was behind the Larimer Square project in the mid-1960s, and more recently was involved in the revitalization of Denver’s Lower Downtown Historic (LoDo) District.

Going by the project name “Vitae – Lifestyle Glenwood Springs,” the team is examining five primary downtown sites for possible redevelopment, including the corner of 8th and Cooper, and the existing library site at 9th and Bennett, which is owned by the city.

In addition to a city parking structure and other public amenities, a primary objective has been to try to keep the library downtown.

The library district intends to replace the existing 4,500 square-foot Glenwood Branch Library with a new 14,000-square-foot facility, using funds from a districtwide mill levy approved by voters in 2006. The district has also been considering a site at Glenwood Meadows, as a way to ensure adequate parking.

In addition to a larger branch library, the site at Cooper and 8th may include new classrooms and office space for CMC.

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