Council vacates street at request of university
In rugby terms, Wednesday night’s victory at Grand Junction City Hall was a “try.”
That is, the rugby teams of Colorado Mesa University will get a new field built on campus, now that the Grand Junction City Council approved vacating a portion of Cannell Avenue.
Councilors unanimously approved the university’s request to vacate Cannell Avenue between Kennedy and Texas avenues in order for the school to continue with its development plans.
The area north of the future rugby field is slated for another residence hall to mirror Garfield Hall.
CMU President Tim Foster told councilors the process of closing a street typically stirs controversy, but this project has generated little protest by nearby residents during community meetings. The university owns or has demolished all of the homes in the area slated for expansion. Closing a portion of Elm Avenue to the east years ago to make room for the University Center and a parking garage was met with more protests than the current vacation request, Foster said.
Two residents who live in the neighborhoods west of CMU have filed letters opposing the vacation of a portion of Cannell Avenue, stating that a closed road would be inconvenient for them and not as safe to travel directly to the busier roadways of Seventh Street or North Avenue.
CMU officials have said they expect to begin construction on the new rugby field when students let out for the summer. It should be completed by next fall.
Members of CMU’s women’s rugby team testified to councilors that they currently must travel to play on a field in Orchard Mesa, on a field that is riddled with ruts and is difficult for fans to locate. The women’s rugby team is currently rated the fifth-best in the nation.
“It will be really nice to have a set field to practice on,” one rugby team member told councilors.