Sixth Street’s current landscaping appearance has business owners concerned, and the price tag to do anything about it has City Councilors conflicted.
After the city received no bids for the Sixth and Laurel landscaping project earlier this summer, it was rebid in August and garnered one response from local contractor Gould Construction for approximately $1.1 million dollars.
The landscaping project as envisioned by the Downtown Development Authority would include installation of lighting, landscaping, boulders and irrigation in and around the roundabout in north Glenwood Springs.
A herd of bison constructed from recycled wooden pallets currently inhabits the space.
According to a city staff report, the north Glenwood Springs business community “is very concerned” about the area’s appearance.
“I wouldn’t call it just the business community,” Summit Canyon Mountaineering owner Carl Moak said. “As a local and a business owner, I am incredibly disappointed. It’s a mess. It looks horrible and the impression it gives to visitors is not good.”
Moak’s business resides on Sixth Street, and said the area’s business community has spent a considerable amount of time and money making their properties look attractive, and the city was not doing its part.
At the roundabout, he pointed out mulch is down but weeds are growing through it.
“It just looks cheap,” Moak said.
Moak expressed disappointment that the city only received one bid for the work.
In 2010, Council approved an ordinance intended to award local projects to locally qualified contractors, particularly during slower economic times.
At its Aug. 1 meeting, Council voted to do away with that in an effort to increase bidding competition.
“We do believe that will help,” City Manager Debra Figueroa said. “It’s also that construction is booming right now. Every contractor is very busy.”
City staff recommended that Council negotiate with Gould to place boulders, irrigation and landscaping in this year, and rebid the project’s plant installation this fall for possible construction in the spring of 2020.
“The appearance is not the appropriate appearance for the entrance to Glenwood,” Councilor Charlie Willman said. “I am hoping whether we take this bid or something similar or parts of the bid…that we are able to get it underway this year to begin that work. I think rebidding and waiting until next year is not a good option.”
Councilman Tony Hershey, however, said the idea of spending more than one million dollars on a roundabout “ridiculous,” and argued that Glenwood had more than one entrance and more than one street to fix.
“We don’t need a lightshow in the roundabout. We need to be able to drive to work without blowing tires and bending hubs,” Hershey said. “It’s time to get sensible with our spending, not get waylaid with dreams of turning our little mountain town into a mini Las Vegas.”