The confrontation with the pay parking lots of Green Mountain Falls scheduled for Tuesday evening

Directors set to approve contract with interstate parking company

Rick langenberg

The days of free parking at Green Mountain Falls for hikers and extended stays are coming to an end.

And maybe the sight of Green Mountain Falls as a quaint little village in the mountains might come to an end as the city will soon be operating in a big city resort climate, so bring your wallet and smart phone when you get to the center. -city.

If a series of deals are finalized tonight (May 4) between the city and the Interstate Parking Company of Colorado LLC, GMF will become the first community in the Ute Pass area to charge visitors using a limited parking system. and paying. In fact, the new paid parking plan, with the imminent arrival of kiosks, advanced equipment, special online technologies and parking ambassadors, could kick off within two weeks, if city leaders are there. agree.

The concept, which is unlikely to impact residents and temporary customers of restaurants and shops, has generated a lot of controversy and a wide variety of opinions. Supporters of paid parking say it will help deal with the explosion in crowds, associated with many other hikers the city experienced in the past year in the wake of the pandemic. Critics, including major commercial operators, argue that the system will drastically change the character of Green Mountain Falls and signal a strong message against visitors, hikers and tourists.

One fact remains certain: Tuesday’s meeting could spark a lot of verbal sparks, as opinions are quite passionate about this issue.

On the evening of May 4, the Green Mountain Falls Board of Directors will tackle one of their most extensive programs in months. Overall, administrators must approve a detailed contract with a major national parking contractor, Interstate Parking, agree to new parking enforcement rules, swear in a new police officer (as part of the enforcement plan) and prepare the ground for the new program to start in two weeks.

Contrary to previous opinions of residents, city leaders will not consider a variety of parking proposals. Negotiations have already taken place between staff and the recommended contractor. Interstate manages parking systems for Idaho Springs, Breckenridge, Keystone, Evergreen and many resort communities across Colorado and the country. According to the information in the next presentation, the company has 225 locations, manages 35,000 parking spaces, has five offices in Colorado and 300 employees.

According to Mayor Jane Newberry, the city formed a committee to review the proposals, which included the city marshal and the general manager. She said GMF had received many offers from companies interested in pursuing the paid parking system, which is now labeled as managed parking.

However, the May 4 agenda package makes no mention of the list of other contenders for the deal. Based on a memo from Managing Director Angie Sprang, the GMF has already concluded negotiations and now wants board approval to “roll out” the parking program. The city manager said the privileged company will invest nearly $ 200,000 in infrastructure to make it work.

“Like all of our municipal operations, our goal is to create a win / win partnership between the GMF and the Interstate for years to come given the scale of the initial investment and the staff’s long-term belief in the benefits. that managed parking will bring to our wonderful community. Sprang said in his memo.

A huge change for GMF

The new parking business, however, is one of the most ambitious steps the city has ever taken. To date, it has received a lukewarm response from local business operators and even some long-time residents. Some even called him a corporate killer. “We’re a town with dirt trails and a few restaurants,” said Ben Stephens, owner of The Pantry restaurant, in a previous interview. “It’s ridiculous.”

But Newberry and current leaders say the city cannot function as a status quo, saying it needs to better manage its crowds and parking situation. “The cat is out of the bag,” said the mayor, of the emergence of FMGs as a major hiking destination. This summer, the city will also further enrich its tourist offer with the new James Turrell Skyspace installation.

In total, about 250 parking spaces in the city center would come into play. The parking lots will be managed from 9 am to 5 pm with the first two hours of free parking. The maximum price for a full day of parking is $ 34, depending on the proposal.

The company prides itself on its cutting-edge technology, without the use of meters, and perks like Tap N Explore, allowing people to use their smartphones to get charges or information on parking rates and even trails. . He wants to manage the parking lot discreetly. In addition, the parking spaces will not be marked.

Still, there are still many unanswered questions about free resident parking and how it will work in an easy-to-understand way. Additionally, initial discussions discussed an implementation only on weekends. This restriction is not mentioned in the current proposal.

The net revenues from the projected parking revenues, estimated between $ 100,000 and $ 400,000 per year, will be shared 50/50 between the city and the contractor. The pilot contract will last two years