Wednesday letters: RiverFEST coming, thoughts on hotel conversion, W. Glenwood water

Celebrate Glenwood Springs’ waterways at RiverFEST

Like many mountain communities, rivers shape every aspect of our daily lives in the Roaring Fork Valley. Luckily, the rivers in our community have numerous hardworking nonprofit and local government advocates with a mission to protect and enhance our essential water resources.

In Glenwood Springs, the River Commission is a volunteer group of residents with a passion for our rivers and the resources they provide: recreation, water supplies, ecosystems and an intrinsic natural value. The River Commission has several duties, including celebrating our annual river cleanup and engaging the community with awareness of issues facing our rivers. The River Commission also works alongside our City Council, city staff, other volunteer commissions such as Parks and Recreation, local nonprofits such as Roaring Fork Conservancy and Middle Colorado Watershed Council, to plan and promote events aimed at education and advocacy for our rivers.

August 13 is our annual RiverFEST, a river cleanup day where volunteers can float or walk the rivers through the city to pick up trash and debris followed by a celebration at Two Rivers Park with music, food, beverages and prize giveaways for all cleanup volunteers. The celebration is thanks to our sponsors, including Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Iron Mountain Hot Springs and other local businesses. Visit cogs.us/riverfest to register. Volunteering for the cleanup is not required to attend the celebration, but a donation is requested if you would like to join us to enjoy the food or beverages.



The River Commission also hosts annual river restoration planting days on city-owned properties such as Two Rivers and Veltus Parks and hosts educational webinars with experts from our valley and beyond, covering topics from river ecology to post-fire impacts on water quality/fish habitat , city water conservation efforts and water efficient landscaping. For more on what we’re up to, stop by our public meetings the first Wednesday of every month at 7:30 am in Council Chambers at City Hall. Thanks!

Chip Fishercity of Glenwood Springs River Commission



Conversions make sense, but save MC water

The motel conversion for affordable housing is a sensitive and creative approach to housing for lower-wage workers. What’s not to love about these proposed conversions? No need to pave over green space; no need to feed greedy developers; convenient bus access and nearby shopping; no long commutes. Best of all, it could happen really fast.

I was pleased that City Council dropped the mandate for city water as the only acceptable source for fire suppression systems, and even happier when several council members suggested mediation to resolve long-standing conflicts with the Mitchell Cooper water system, which has historically served the motels considering converting, as well as several mobile home parks. The MC system needs to upgrade its filtration system to meet health and safety requirements. The mobile home parks using MC are affordable in large measure because water is cheaper. For the city to require the converting motels to switch to city water would cut deeply into the MC customer base, harming the MC corporation’s ability to afford the needed upgrades to continue to supply the parks.

I have heard that each mobile home park might be facing costs in the $100,000 range to switch to city water — costs that would be passed along to the residents, making them no longer affordable and tempting their owners to sell and redevelop the land.

Let’s not jeopardize the affordable housing we already have. It is certainly in everyone’s interest to have two viable local water systems for the price of the improvements to MC’s existing infrastructure allowing it to meet fire suppression standards.

The MC corporation has some internal conflicts that need to be resolved and lingering conflicts with the city as well. The situation seems made to order for resolution by mediation, since there are so many common interests. We have skilled mediators in our valley. What are we waiting for?

Laurie RaymondGlenwood Springs

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