Decommissioned Graham Mesa Water Plant in Rifle to be replaced with residential housing

The old water plant at 1500 Dogwood Drive in Rifle.
Ray K. Erku / Citizen Telegram

The decommissioned Graham Mesa Water Plant in Rifle, currently undergoing demolition, will be replaced with residential housing next year. 

According to Brian Prunty, public works director with the city, the 2.1 acres of land will be used to build around 6-8 single family dwelling units. 

“It’s just been up in the air,” Prunty told the Post Independent. “There were different concepts for using the property … there were a lot of different ideas and they seemingly just weren’t compatible with the use up there … so it was decided to get it developed.” 

Demolition on the water plant started on Oct. 30 and is expected to go through the end of March 2024, partially due to the revegetation requirements. 

Prunty presented a funding request for the plant’s demolition to Rifle City Council during their Oct. 4 meeting, where all council members voted in favor of the motion. 

“This is a project that’s been long discussed and is overdue and we need to properly utilize the property,” Prunty said during the meeting. “It’s sat pretty much vacant and empty and it’s become an eyesore and a public health hazard in many ways, since 2017. We’re past due.” 

The requested amount of $750,000 encompassed the estimated demolition cost of $676,504 plus an additional $73,496 contingency fund, which is essentially a cushion fund for needs that have not yet been identified. The cost of restoring the land after demolition will also fall on the city. 

Although it was not yet finalized how the land would be used at the time of the presentation, the demolition would still mean the city wouldn’t have to worry about maintenance efforts, and it would help regain the value of the property.

The land is currently owned by the City of Rifle, and the new property owners and developers will be disclosed once the sale is made.

“We hope to pretty much recover the cost of demolition on the site at the time of sale,” Prunty said. “Given the density that we’re looking at, we’re gonna probably be close to breaking even.”

Prunty said they received two bids for the project, and the 60-day contract was eventually given to contract Martinez Western Construction in Rifle. 

“We’re trying to basically make best use of the city resources that we can, and this is one of the best ways to do it,” Prunty said. “And we’ve got a good, solid contractor with Martinez Western Construction and we think we’re going to wind up with a very nice addition to that whole neighborhood.” 

The Graham Mesa Water Plant was decommissioned in April 2017, following the opening of a new water plant — the Rifle Regional Water Purification Facility. 

The plan is for the company to stay in contact with any residents near the plant throughout the demolition process, according to Prunty. 

“There was a little bit of concern by one of the neighbors regarding air quality, and we were able to address that,” Prunty said. “A feature of the contract was that the contractor had to stay in contact with the surrounding neighbors to ensure that they were aware of what was happening and what they were doing … so we’ve tried to address all the issues that you might encounter in a residential neighborhood.”

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