City of GJ seeks a big grant to fund Las Colonias park project |

City of GJ seeks a big grant to fund Las Colonias park project

Caitlin Row

To fund the much anticipated Las Colonias park project along the Colorado Riverfront, the City of Grand Junction will seek a $350,000 Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant. The application is due Aug. 28, and GJ’s city council directed its staff to pursue funding to help facilitate Phase 1 of construction by the Colorado River.

The master plan for this project — which looks comprehensively at city property running from Fifth Street to the Eagle Rim Park pedestrian bridge in Orchard Mesa — was approved by GJ’s City Council in July. A first phase of work will likely include a new bathroom area, trail connectivity, parking, work on a native arboretum and other types of landscaping. A new disc-golf course is included in the plan as well.

Proponents of the Las Colonias Park say it will not only improve recreation opportunities within city limits, but it will facilitate further business development along the Colorado River. Those against the park fear it’s just another waste of taxpayer dollars.

Councilors expressed some reservations about the city taking on a new parks project at a Monday, Aug. 5, work session (especially in light of recently approving a multi-million revitalization of the Avalon Theatre on Main Street). But, in the end, they decided to move forward (5-1, with Councilor Marty Chazen saying no) with the GOCO grant application because it would fund a large chunk of the proposed riverfront park near Edgewater Tap & Grill and the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens.

Projected expenses for park work spanning two years comes to $800,000, a city document said.

Chazen also noted that he thought applying for the GOCO grant was “premature,” and that the Las Colonias park plan needs to be part of a larger discussion about what the city will do regarding the future of its parks.

But Councilor Bennett Boeschenstein made a counterpoint saying there was no guarantee Grand Junction would even receive the sought-after GOCO grant (only to be used for parks and open space) and that the application was an important step toward realizing long-term recreation goals for the area.

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