Glenwood Springs City Council makes headway on South Canyon planning
The Glenwood Springs city council voted to approve planning a public engagement process for South Canyon improvement possibilities, along with a request for proposals from developers.
The council voted 4-2 to spend no more than $20,000 on an eight-week public engagement process to conclude by Aug. 13.
Council members Tony Hershey and Steve Davis voted against the motion.
Mayor Jonathan Godes said the process will help the city get enough public input for a presentation at the second city council meeting in August.
Council member Charlie Willman said he’s not opposed to the concept, but worried about the burden it could place on staff.
Willman said he just wants to ensure the already strained city staff doesn’t become burnt out due to the extra workload.
Parks and Recreation Director Brian Smith said the staff will abide by the will of the council, regardless.
A motion from Davis to put out a request for proposals for the development of the entire South Canyon area, passed on a 5-1 vote, with Council member Shelley Kaup casting the lone nay vote.
Kaup said she would prefer to have the vision set before putting any kind of request for proposals out.
Davis said by putting a request for proposals out there, the public would have something to provide an opinion on during the engagement process.
“I just think that by the time we get an RFP out, we will also know the public sentiment and the public will be aware of the fact that we put an RFP out,” Davis said.
Council member Ingrid Wussow pushed to ensure that public engagement be at the forefront of the process, saying the city needs to know what the vision is for South Canyon going forward.
Davis commented that he has absolutely no interest in the city being the developer of South Canyon.
“I think we are incredibly struggling to maintain the parks within our city limits,” Davis said. “I cannot imagine stretching our staff out of town as well.”
Davis said he believes illegal fires, rogue camping and other safety concerns in South Canyon stem from lack of monitoring.
“You can go up there and nobody will see you for a long time,” Davis said. “I think a developed campground would solve a lot of problems. Someone would be able to monitor how campfires are built and if they’re put out every night.”
Godes said that the South Canyon planning process does include public participation.
“There is a bit of a public process and we are elected officials and by a vote of 5-1 we want to go forward with this (request for proposals),” Godes said.
“A lot of us have seen this original proposal two years ago. It’s not just a truncated thing that came to us last week.”
Godes was referring to a development project brought forth by Iron Mountain Hot Springs owner Steve Beckley, who proposed a development plan for the South Canyon hot springs.
Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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