Caitlin Rowcrow@gjfreepress.com

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April 18, 2013
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Excitement brews over Grand Junction's riverfront revitalization

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Enthusiasm for new development on Grand Junction's riverfront is definitely brewing, especially with Kannah Creek's new tasting room and bottling facility set to open mid-May. The local brewpub is finishing up construction on its second location, called Edgewater Brewery, located next to the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens and near the Colorado River.With its completion marks a renewed effort by the city to freshen Grand Junction's riverfront area, too. "The stars aligned if you will," said City of GJ Recreation Superintendent Traci Wieland, who also noted that a hefty Lions Club donation ($300,000) along with other stakeholders coming to the table caused riverfront plans to be revived.Master plans were created for the Las Colonias Park project in 1998 and 2008, and a new plan will be a melding of the two. Formerly a mill tailings site that was cleaned up and deeded to the city, this 101-acre area is located "north of the Colorado River, south of the Riverside Parkway, and just east of the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens," a news release said."I know we are really hoping that the city moves quickly on Las Colonias Park because that will only mean good things at Edgewater," Kannah Creek spokeswoman Katlin Lubeley added.To gather community input and share ideas for the Las Colonias Park project, Wieland hosted an open house Wednesday, April 10.Notable components of the plan presented to the public included an amphitheater, a wetlands area, a dog park, a festival/multipurpose area, numerous picnic shelters and a disc golf course on Watson Island. The Grand Valley Disk Golf Club is participating in the actual construction of the course, and it could be open as early as this summer.There were "very positive comments about the proposed design," Wieland said. "There wasn't much feedback about any amenity that was not 'liked.' Many of the attendees were just curious about the current revision and had many questions about when the plan might come to fruition."According to Wieland, folks should expect to see the Las Colonias project kicking off in 2013 with larger modifications to the area in 2014. It will be done in phases as grants become available. "We know that we have $250,000 in city funds this year," she said, and that money will go to basic infrastructure of the park.

What would you like to see developed on the riverfront area of Grand Junction?When the Grand Junction Free Press posed this question to its Facebook friends last week, lots of locals weighed in on a wish list for the area's future. Here are a variety of answers from our readers:• Solar-powered lighting for evenings. BIRDHOUSES! I love the Riverfront Trails and skate there often! Grand Junction is a beautiful place to live!- Connie Wengert, 42, lives in Fruita and works at Startek.• I have a vision of that area eventually turning into a LoDo-sort-of scene, turning some of the old warehouses into condos and having a major art, music, shopping, dining, and park atmosphere. It could be something very cool and fun, which will draw more tourism and add another element to Grand Junction.- Mark Wingerter, 33, is a Grand Junction resident and a real estate agent with Bray.• Free Community Center, bike & kayak rentals, birdhouses.- Lisa Fenton, 60, lives in the Redlands and works at Rocky Mountain Health Plans.• A legitimate concrete skate park; I'm 38 years old, and I, like most of my friends of similar age, spend a lot of money and time traveling to other cities and towns throughout Colorado which have invested in legitimate parks and outdoor rec activities. This is something which Mesa County has done well in some aspects, but is severely lacking in others. Public parks with unique features (i.e. whitewater, skateboarding, Frisbee golf, music venues, etc.) become destination parks, bringing a steady and constant revenue stream to local businesses. The case has been proven time and time again.- Josh Niernberg, 38, lives in downtown Grand Junction and he's the chef/owner of Bin 707 Foodbar.• A skating & rec area!- Debra Rollaine, 51, lives in Grand Junction and works as an antique/collectibles dealer.• Whitewater park, native plant arboretum, festival green, thorough riparian restoration, community center- Bill Cooper, 27, lives in Grand Junction and works for the Tamarisk Coalition.Want to weigh in? Visit the Free Press at www.facebook/GrandJunction.


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The Post Independent Updated Apr 18, 2013 01:02PM Published Apr 18, 2013 01:01PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.