Grand Junction’s Las Colonias Park plan moves forward |

Grand Junction’s Las Colonias Park plan moves forward

The Watson Island disc-golf course, which was constructed last summer, is part of the Las Colonias Park Master Plan. A GOCO grant, along with additional monetary awards, will fund Phase 1 construction along the Riverfront Trail on a stretch of city owned land near the Colorado River. Increased parking, restrooms and trail connectivity is part of the project.
Paul Sweeney / Courtesy |

When using Grand Junction’s section of Riverfront Trail, public bathrooms and water fountains are few and far between. By fall, however, construction is planned to kick off Phase 1 of the long-awaited (and currently undeveloped) Las Colonias Park, which will serve as an oasis to parched and weary recreators.

Preliminary design work will start in the next few weeks by city employees, with construction slated to begin in late August or early September. The City of Grand Junction hopes to complete construction by summer/fall 2015.

“It’s a giant leap forward,” Grand Junction’s recreation superintendent Traci Wieland said. “It is the momentum we needed to get development going at this point of time.”

Construction of new park amenities became possible when Grand Junction’s pending Las Colonias Park project received an almost $300,000 Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant this summer. Colorado Garden Foundation also donated $14,600 for native plants, and a $180,000 grant from Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) will fund design work for an amphitheater to be located directly east of Edgewater Brewery (905 Struthers Ave., Grand Junction). Phase 1 construction is projected to cost $772,000.

Grand Junction City Council approved the Las Colonias Park Master Plan last summer, which looks comprehensively at how to develop city owned property located between Fifth Street to the Eagle Rim Park pedestrian bridge in Orchard Mesa.

According to a GOCO news release, funding to the tune of $298,757 “ … will make improvements to the park by adding a much needed restroom, shelter, parking, lighting, trail connections, and a native arboretum adjacent to its botanical gardens. Improvements are expected to increase family usage of the park, which now sees about 38,000 visitors a year.” The GOCO board awarded nine grants this summer totaling “more than $2.2 million to build baseball fields, tennis courts, natural playscapes, a pedestrian bridge and a track facility.” Thirty-six applications were considered during this past grant cycle by GOCO.

By installing basic amenities along the Riverfront Trail, Wieland hopes to attract new folks to the area and improve the user experience for those already recreating by the river.

The Watson Island disc-golf course, also part of the master plan, was built last summer and is located near Edgewater Brewery and Western Colorado Botanical Gardens on the Colorado River.

“The park improvement is the final project within the Colorado Riverfront Commission’s 1987 vision for a contiguous park and trail system along the river,” GOCO’s news release noted.

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