Funeral home says no plans to move amid development pressure
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
As the city of Glenwood Springs continues its confluence development conversations, Farnum Holt Funeral Home, which sits along the Roaring Fork River, has no intentions of selling or relocating, owner Trey Holt said.
On April 8, engineers, architects, consultants and members of the public filled the City Hall council chambers for a pre-bid meeting to brief potential confluence area “master developers.”
The city’s request for qualifications (RFQ) for the project, which was published Feb. 22 and will close May 22, seeks “to find a qualified, visionary development partner … to develop approximately 12.2 acres of land located at the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers.”
The RFQ additionally specified that its intent was to “identify a master developer partner with whom the city could enter into a collaborative public/private partnership to develop creative and innovative approaches to this property.”
Holt has lived in Glenwood Springs since 1986 and has owned the family business, Farnum Holt Funeral Home at 405 W. Seventh St., since 1990. He said the latest confluence development talk was nothing new.
“It’s always been, ‘Well, what are you going to do?’” Holt said of the question he has been asked over the past 30 years concerning the prospect of redeveloping the confluence area.
“Well, we are kind of doing what we’ve been doing,” Holt said.
“I have seen so many drawings,” Holt said regarding potential plans he had been shown over the past three decades.
Holt said he did meet with Glenwood Springs City Manager Debra Figueroa and Assistant City Manager Jennifer Ooton on two separate, brief and informal occasions.
“They wanted to know what my plans were,” Holt said of the short meetings. “Well, my plans were to just run our business.”
The RFQ does not include the funeral home property, but does feature potential development sites around it — predominantly the city-owned properties west of City Hall.
The plans include potential development for the approximate 3-acre Vogelaar Park, located on the southwest corner of Eighth and School streets, as well as the land that previously housed the city’s wastewater treatment plant between 1968 and 2012, and the parking areas near City Hall.
According to the RFQ’s objectives, through a public/private partnership the city aims for these parcels of land to possibly include:
• A variety of housing types (mixed-income housing)
• Commercial space — including areas for restaurants and other retail space
• Office and incubator space
• Civic and public space, which could include space for performing arts/special events/museum
• Retained access to the Rio Grande Trail
• Public river access
• Transit access
Despite all of those possible ideas, Holt said he wanted to make sure that Farnum Holt Funeral Home’s columbarium, a place where cremated remains may be kept by families, remained intact.
“(The columbarium) sits on our property by the bike path,” Holt said. “That’s a concern, that the integrity of that remains, absolutely.”
Holt said after all the years, he never had an opinion as to what should go into the adjacent confluence area, but just hoped that it was in the best interests of Glenwood Springs.
“You only get one chance, and it has to be good for the community,” Holt said. “(The confluence) is so beautiful and so nice. I hope it’s special.”
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