City of Fruita takes initial steps to upgrade Aspen Avenue |

City of Fruita takes initial steps to upgrade Aspen Avenue

Caitlin Row / Free Press
Staff Photo |

Fruita is a place to walk your dogs, say “hi” to your neighbor, and ride a bike. Known to many as a quiet, charming, historic area with lots of potential, this sleepy burg’s main drag — Aspen Avenue — will soon be the site of a city-driven facelift.

Upgrade options for the area between Triangle Park and Elm Street will be explored over the coming months, with public meetings starting in July. The project will likely include improvements to Civic Center Park and work to the area’s streetscape.

“The big project kicking off now is design work to improve the downtown area,” Fruita’s City Manager Clint Kinney said.

Fruita’s Mayor Lori Buck said she didn’t expect to see radical changes to Aspen Avenue, however.

“Fruita is fun, funky and it has a great vibe,” Buck said. “We want to maintain that and build on it.”

The city recently picked Logan Simpson Design of Fort Collins to hash out a vision for Aspen Avenue. The conceptual project was put out for bid about five weeks ago, and Kinney said eight firms responded.

“There was a strong consensus that (Logan Simpson Design was) the firm with the greatest technical expertise,” he explained.

According to Kinney, the city’s Downtown Advisory Board worked in conjunction with city council and Fruita’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to find ways to improve the downtown atmosphere. Meetings on this topic have been held over the past year.

Downtown Advisory Board member Ken Kreie said that “keeping the old-school charm will likely be one of the priorities of the design.”

Another Downtown Advisory Board member Jeannine Purser noted that climbing structures or a kids’ water fountain on Aspen Avenue could help accomplish goals related to improving downtown’s feel.

“Ideally, there will be a better way to access information about the history of Fruita while walking around downtown,” Purser said. “How that will take shape has not yet been decided. Also ideally, we would love to see more citizens of Fruita enjoying what downtown Fruita has to offer. One way to encourage that idea would be to make downtown as family friendly as possible.”

“It also would be great if people could access Circle Park more safely and, in turn, make it more of a town gathering spot,” she added.

Other components of an Aspen Avenue upgrade to be explored include outdoor seating, parking, appearance and streetscape, as well as traffic flow.

“We will work with all the different interests to hit the sweet spot and make a cool, functioning downtown,” Kinney said.

Ground could be broken at the earliest in 2014.

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