Smart growth is what Glenwood Springs needs
Glenwood Springs City Council had a majority to deny annexation for the 480 Donegan development on Sept. 7. But Councilwoman Shelly Kaup asked to continue the motion to deny for another month. She and Mayor Godes are adamantly for the behemoth 332-unit development, saying that if R2 Partners completes its contract to buy the West Glenwood Springs Mall along with the hundreds of housing units, we’ll have a wonderful “walking community.” It does sounds wonderful, that walking part: Imagine a community that would do that!
The problem is, can you name any community that does that? Do those who live in downtown walk from their houses to work and to restaurants? Do those who live in apartments above Willits — a “walking community” — walk from home to work and restaurants? No: They get in their cars because their jobs are at the end of Highway 82 in Aspen. We witness this exodus daily in heavy and often dangerous traffic, replete with occasional mudslides and rock slides that close roads and cause major congestion.
It must be mentioned there are empty storefronts (and too many banks) in downtown Glenwood, and that if retail was to fill the old mall, that there’d be a question of downtown losing revenue because of that. Or, that the mall can’t find enough retailers (Ross is still there, folks). But let’s say the old mall becomes a thriving retail/restaurant center — the vitality in downtown Glenwood would take a nosedive.
A walkable community when we have a highway running through it where at the end are the jobs that help us pay the rent — is just another mirage in the desert.
We continue to support smart growth. 480 Donegan is not smart growth.
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Kudos to Laurine Lasselle for her well-written, well-researched article interpreting the data from the 2020 census (“2020 census data highlights relationship among resort communities, downvalley locales,” Aspen Journalism).