GarCo closes main entrance to courthouse again

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Security officials last week threw open the doors to easier access to the Garfield County Courthouse.

Now those doors are being shut again, at least for a while.

Just in time for Election Day, the building’s main, southside entrance was reopened to public use. The entrance enabled people to bypass security at an eastside, first-floor entrance and gain entry to the second floor and its nonjudicial county offices, including the clerk and recorder, treasurer, assessor and surveyor offices.

“The public was very pleased Tuesday when the doors were opened,” said County Commissioner John Martin.

But others weren’t so happy. Among them were delivery people who, because of a new key-card access that had been installed at the first-floor elevator, needed a security escort if they wanted to avoid stairs.

At the same time, no key-card system was in place for the elevator on the second floor, enabling people to get on it and reach other floors without passing through security. That concerned 9th Judicial District Attorney Martin Beeson and district judges, who want to preserve security for judicial operations on the other floors of the building.

The county hopes to resolve the remaining glitches as it continues work on remodeling and other measures to ease public access to the second floor while keeping security in place for the other three floors. But Sheriff Lou Vallario said the main entrance was reopened before all those measures had been implemented.

He blamed poor communication among county officials for that, including an assumption that he was managing the construction project.

County commissioners on Monday decided to allow access only through the secured entrance again until the problems can be worked out.

Also Monday, commissioners approved 2009 contracts for County Manager Ed Green and County Attorney Don DeFord.

DeFord will earn $127,457, and Green $130,277.

In addition, commissioners approved a special-use permit allowing the Herons Nest RV Park south of Silt to operate 76 camper spaces. The park had been permitted for a smaller size, but a previous owner had added 18 spaces without county approval, the county says.


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