Infrastructure work begins at Grand Junction’s Matchett Park | PostIndependent.com

Infrastructure work begins at Grand Junction’s Matchett Park

Brittany Markert
bmarkert@gjfreepress.com
Matchett Park has seen recent work in the Indian Wash area. Crews have removed dozens of non-native trees and bushes. Tamarisk Coalition plans to plant more than 80 cottonwood trees in the area.
Submitted photo |

Dirt isn’t moving at Matchett Park yet, but dozens of non-native, invasive plants were removed.

A master plan for the undeveloped park in Grand Junction was approved in September 2014. The 205-acre area off Patterson Avenue between 28 1/4 and 29 roads in Grand Junction is due to see many upgrades in the coming years.

“We are looking at the big picture of how to make it a better place to observe wildlife on a hike or walk,” said Traci Wieland, Grand Junction’s recreation superintendent.

The City of Grand Junction is now working on projects that will create infrastructure at the park. Grants will help fund projects to help clear non-native plants, move irrigation systems and more.

According to Wieland, a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant allowed for two weeks of work from Western Colorado Conservation Core to remove non-native plants from the Indian Wash area. The natural drainage area cuts through the eastern section of Matchett Park.

“The face of the area has changed a lot in a year and you can see that when out walking in the area,” Wieland said.

Plus, crews have been working “delicately” with some animal species as well, she noted.

The Tamarisk Coalition is currently managing the plant project.

“It will be a few phases and we will chip away at it with additional funding,” said Shannon Hatch, Tamarisk Coalition’s restoration coordinator.

With GOCO grants in hand, Western Colorado Conservation Core was able to send out a 20-man crew to help clear the non-native plants along with a private contractor. Tamarisk Coalition helped facilitate the project and will now plant more than 80 cottonwood trees and other native species in the area.

The area totals more than five acres, and crews removed around two acres worth of non-native plants and trees.

“I think it’s great we have this collaboration,” said Jeff Roberts, director of Western Colorado Conservation Core. “It’s a win-win for not only us, but for everyone involved who can eventually go out and enjoy the area a little more.”

The next project, moving an irrigation ditch to the western boundary of the park, will occur either this year or in 2016.

“There is a lot of planning and design work to get into place before the dirt actually moves,” Wieland confirmed.

The park’s master plan includes “plentiful natural outdoor opportunities, such as walking trails, outdoor exercise circuits, shelters and ponds; the great lawn for athletics and special events; an outdoor aquatics park; a splashpad and playgrounds; a dog park; a bicycle park; outdoor athletic facilities including sand volleyball, basketball, tennis and pickleball; community gardens and more,” a 2014 Free Press story reported.

To learn more about the project or receive updates, contact Wieland at traciw@gjcity.org. For more information on the master plan, visit http://www.gjcity.org/Matchett_Park_Master_Plan.aspx.


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