"Glenwood Merchants Seek Festive Feel Amid New Bridge Work"

"Downtown Glenwood Springs merchants are inclined to make the most of the situation as work on the Grand Avenue bridge moves within a few feet of their storefronts through the holidays and over the winter months.

Several business owners affected by the latest stage of bridge construction met with project officials Tuesday morning to discuss concerns as work begins on the structural walls for the new bridge in the 700 block of Grand.

Chief among them is to ensure that access to stores and restaurants located along the wing street walkways is maintained during the busy holiday shopping season and into the spring and summer.

Project officials emphasized at the merchants meeting that the work now being done will not limit access as much as the utility work that was done in that area last spring. That required a trench to be dug directly in front of stores, while a 6- to 8-foot walkway next to stores will be maintained during the current work.

Work began this week to erect safety barriers on the east and west sides of Grand Avenue as it approaches Eighth Street to allow for a work zone to build the nearly 200-foot-long wall sections that will be part of the support structure for the new bridge.

The work zone will entail a concrete barrier and plywood splash guards with a chain-link safety fence separating storefronts from the work area where the new concrete bridge walls will be poured.

The walls will also provide a surface for the aesthetic brick facade that is part of the bridge design. However, the brick work will not be done until the weather warms again in the spring, project officials said.

To get into the spirit of the holidays, shop owners also want to put up some lighting on the work zone safety fencing to create a festive atmosphere.

Crews will continue to work on the pedestrian bridge deck, hand railings, canopies and utilities for the Seventh Street Station through the winter months.

'We have been trying to get some more light on those wing streets anyway so they are more inviting,' said Leslie Bethel, executive director for the Downtown Development Authority. 'If we do it well, it can stay up the whole time the fence is there, and it can be inviting and festive.'

First and foremost as winter weather sets in, bridge project and city officials want to make sure the wing street area stays clear of snow.

'People have to be careful with putting things in that [wing street] area, because it will impact how we’re able to remove snow,' said Gaylen Stewart, construction manager for the bridge joint venture general contractor of Granite-Wadsworth.

'The less stuff we have out there will help us get the snow out of the way,' he said.

Timely snow removal in the downtown area in general, including the parking lanes in the 800 and 900 blocks of Grand, will be a high priority for the city this winter as well, Glenwood Springs City Manager Debra Figueroa said.

In addition to the work zone barriers in the 700 block, the left-turn lane from southbound Grand onto Eighth Street will be closed to allow adequate work space.

The turn lane was expected to be closed today, requiring motorists to continue on to Ninth Street to access areas east of Grand Avenue. Project officials said the turn signal timing at Ninth will be extended by an extra four or five seconds.

Construction crews will take a break during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, starting Dec. 22 until Jan. 2, Stewart said.

Project public information manager Kathleen Wanatowicz said the work on the structural walls was to have started earlier this fall, but has been delayed and now must begin in order to stay on schedule.

'If we could have pushed it back to January, we would have,' she said in response to questions about waiting to begin the work until after the holidays. 'We just didn’t have that option.'

Stewart added that it’s critical to get as much work done ahead of the planned 95-day bridge detour that is set to start Aug. 14, 2017, as possible, so that the final segment of the bridge can be built on schedule.

'The more we can get done now, the better success we will have completing things during the detour,' he said.

Stewart said the support wall work could have been done in a shorter amount of time, but that would have required closing access to businesses in the 700 block.

'We had to maintain that access for everyone’s livelihood,' Stewart said.

The work will be done in four phases, starting on the south end of the wall and working to the north, he explained. Phase four of the work will start in March after the new pedestrian bridge opens. At that time, the old section of the pedestrian bridge ramp and the temporary walkway across the highway bridge will be removed.

Motorists should anticipate one-lane closures on the bridge while the support wall work is being done. Two lanes of traffic will be kept open, southbound during the morning commuter times and northbound during the evening peak times."

Source: Post Independent

How to Get Your Christmas Tree Permit from White River National Forest

"Christmas tree permits are now available for sale through the White River National Forest. Any species of conifer trees on national forest land may be harvested, however, people are advised to avoid cutting Colorado Blue Spruce trees. Trees must be taken from at least 100 feet away of any main roads. Trees that are harvested should be shorter than 15 feet in height, cut as close to the ground as possible and stumps should be cleaned of any remaining green branches. One Christmas tree permit is to be used per harvested tree and attached directly to the base before transporting home.

SELECTING YOUR TREE

The forest service asks that people do not pick a single tree in a forest opening due to the fact that these are the start of our future forests. It is best to find groups trees and select one from the bunch. Remember to consider the height of the tree as well as the height of the ceiling where the tree will be placed.

CARING FOR YOUR TREE

Once you are home with your tree, cut roughly one inch off the base of the trunk and immediately place it in water. Water from the tap is perfectly safe to use. Be sure to check the water level multiple times a day during the first week and once a day there after.

For more information, visit any White River National Forest office or go to http://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver"

Source: Post Independent 

 

"Garfield County Tightens Personal Pot Growing Regulations"

"Following some high-profile busts of large illegal marijuana farms in Garfield County, commissioners moved Monday to tighten control over personal marijuana grows, which have gone largely unregulated by the county.

New amendments to the county land use code target personal marijuana grows, not commercial operations.

These amendments follow discovery of large illegal pot farms in unincorporated Garfield County.

One bust on Mile Pond Road near Rifle uncovered a massive operation where authorities found about 2,600 marijuana plants.

County code enforcement officer Wade Patton said that since then, authorities have discovered three more pot farms with around 400 plants each. 'But there are so many more than just that,' he said.

Patton and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office are trying to make a big dent in this industry 'to let them know we’re watching,' he said.

But the new amendments do not target illegal grow operations, but ones that have operated legally though loopholes that allow them to become quite large.

Violations of these amendments would necessarily be a civil rather than a criminal matter, and commissioners were concerned about enforcement through possibly lengthy lawsuits.

After the county’s community development department expressed concerns this summer about unchecked marijuana grows in unincorporated parts of the county, staff recommended initiating caps for both plant count and for square footage of growing space.

The amendments restrict personal marijuana grows to 36 plants grown in a 300-square-foot, contiguous area for properties on lots 20,000 square feet or more.

For smaller lots, the amendments allow for even fewer plants: 12 plants per lot, which can be grown only in an area of 100 square feet. On lots with three or more dwelling units, residents are also allowed only 12 plants per dwelling unit, also in a contiguous 100-square-foot space.

Personal grows and “caregiver facilities” have until now not been regulated by the county.

Generally, an individual is allowed to grow up to six plants for themselves.

While state law allows people to grow six plants for themselves, language in the law also allows people to 'assist another person,' which the attorney general’s office has recently opined means a person can assist an unlimited number of individuals, theoretically allowing them to grow an unlimited number of marijuana plants, David Pesnichak, county senior planner, told commissioners Monday.

Colorado law also allow individuals to grow marijuana plants as “caregivers” for up to five patients.

County staff arrived at a restriction of 36 plants based on the number a caregiver can grow with five patients, plus the six the caregiver can grow for him or herself.

But caregivers can also get a waiver to take on more patients and some doctors will prescribe more plants for certain patients, according to staff.

'In some cases, the caregiver’s grow has easily exceeded 100 plants,' according to the staff report. 'We are now aware that patients frequently have medical cards authorizing them to have far in excess of six plants. Therefore, the county is seeing large-scale medical marijuana open air grows … that claim to be caregiver facilities.'

Staff and commissioners were concerned about numerous safety hazards they say these large, unregulated operations pose.

'These standards are to address nuisance, health and safety issues related to an individual’s right to grow marijuana for personal and medical use under the state constitution,' according to the county staff report.

The county’s amendments will also require that all grows be in 'enclosed locked spaces,' rather than allowing grows outdoors.

And language in the amendments bars these grows from producing “odors, smoke, heat, glare or light” detectable from the property line."

Source: Post Independent

The New Grand Avenue Bridge Will Be a Rockstar

"The new Grand Avenue pedestrian bridge opens in March, and many onlookers have already noticed the design evolution beginning to come to the forefront. Within the next few weeks, the bridge will receive one of its essential design features, the stone and brick veneer.

The red brick is actually 'tumbled,' which gives it a historic feel. It will be applied to the elevator tower, known as Seventh Street Station, and is the same brick used on the Ninth Street and Cooper Avenue parking structure and the recent refacing of the planters along Grand Avenue.

Rose strip flagstone will be applied to all the bridge piers and the bridge barrier wall between Seventh and Eighth streets. It, too, is a historic material that can be found throughout our downtown.

Decorative rock is being installed on the new Glenwood Springs pedestrian bridge.

Much time and thought was put behind these features by Colorado Department of Transportation, AMEC Foster Wheeler, Glenwood Springs City Council and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). The brick and stone in the bridge design is an important factor in helping the new bridge fit the city’s character. In this week’s Answer Man, we will explain why.

Leslie Bethel, executive director of the Glenwood Springs DDA, takes us back to the preliminary phases of the new pedestrian bridge design: 'It was City Council that gave the DDA the guidance and goal to make the new bridge part of our town,' she said. This, she explains, is an extremely important task. With her extensive experience in design and architecture, Bethel said she knows how easy it is for a town or city to lose its character when a prominent, large, new structure is built.

Updating a city’s character and architecture by way of choosing overtly modern designs is common among many cities. However, that’s not Glenwood Springs, Bethel explains.

'Glenwood Springs’ goals are different, it’s all about quality and building on our context.' She notes that much of the city’s historic architecture matches the red tones in the soil of Glenwood’s surrounding landscapes such as Red Mountain in west Glenwood.

A total of 5,054 square feet of stone and brick will be installed on various sections of the bridge. These areas include the bridge barrier walls, abutment walls and piers, and the Seventh Street Station, which includes the elevator core and the pedestrian stair structures.

The brick and stone will be handled by Colorado Founded Rock & Co., which has worked on projects for clients from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the Federal Highway Department.

'These brick and stone features on, and adjacent to, the bridge are used to tie the bridges together with not only the historic buildings but with the context of our surrounding environment,' Bethel said. The brick and stone work build on the character that makes Glenwood Springs unique.'"

Source: Post Independent