Fruita eyes parking in downtown plans

Depending on whom you talk to, the city of Fruita may or may not have a problem with parking in its downtown area.

Regardless of the reality, city officials are being proactive, pursuing the purchase of 12 parking spaces on the east side of the 100 block of North Mesa Avenue, between Bank of the West and some dental offices.

“One of the things that we’re looking at for downtown is we expect our downtown to be wildly successful and really have more than just a perception of a (parking) problem,” said Community Development Director Dahna Raugh, her tongue placed partially in her cheek. “We can only hope to have a full-blown parking problem.”

“In anticipation of this, we are certainly looking at opportunities to increase the amount of public parking spaces available. And so here was an opportunity to acquire some,” she said.

Raugh said the spaces have been used as de facto public spaces in the past, so residents may not see much of a change.

She said there are “literally hundreds” of public spaces available downtown in lots and along streets. But with the city’s latest efforts to organize a movement to revitalize the downtown area, parking is one of the topics broached in those discussions.

“We have gotten some wide-ranging opinions, from we have a big problem to we have no problems at all. I think the reality is somewhere in the middle,” Raugh said.

“We can guarantee that if it’s parking we need, parking can be provided on this chunk of land we just bought,” she said.

The downtown revitalization effort is moving along rapidly. A consultant group recently released a draft analysis, and its full report — expected by the end of the month — likely will be a roadmap for changes to the city’s downtown core.

The City Council has decided to appoint a new Downtown Advisory Board, which Raugh said will be named in the “very near future.” She said the city already has a large group of interested people for the approximately 12-member board, but officials are still taking applications and talking with candidates.

An application can be downloaded from the city’s website at http://www.fruita.org.


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