GJ council delays Las Colonias, Matchett Park decisions
A common mantra is developing among some Grand Junction’s city councilors: “We don’t have enough money. Let’s step back and take another look at this project.”
It was in this vein that councilors kicked down the road a date to formally approve a completed master plan for the future of Las Colonias Park. A plan for the 100-acre swath of mostly open space near the Colorado River is in its third revision in the past 15 years.
That plan was slated to be approved at Wednesday night’s regular meeting, but councilors agreed at a Monday night meeting to push that decision off for a few weeks.
Councilors also hesitated on giving the go-ahead to city staff on creating a vision for a community center in an upcoming planning document for Matchett Park, the more than 200-acre parcel at 28¼ Road and Patterson Road.
Putting off approval for a master plan on parks, such as Las Colonias, somewhat halts city staff from working toward forming partnerships among other agencies for the area and planning for the next stages of development, including going after grants. Approving a master plan does not lock the city into spending money on a project. Total estimated costs for multiple phases of Las Colonias Park are expected to run $13 million.
Grant funding can pay 20 percent to 50 percent of the creation of parks, said Rob Schoeber, Grand Junction’s director of parks and recreation.
“We’re going to tap everything that we possibly can,” Schoeber said of grants, adding the city was looking to apply for more than a dozen grants to help fund Las Colonias.
A first phase of Las Colonias, which would include improvements at the western end near the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, has been pared from $1.5 million to $900,000. It would include native gardens, restrooms and a parking lot.
Councilors also will talk more about whether a community or a recreation center is a good fit for the Matchett Park property.
“It just doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of support for it,” Councilor Marty Chazen said.
Additionally, Schoeber said, there is an opportunity for the city to purchase the close Glacier Ice Arena. He said the asking price on the building is “very favorable” and he had compiled numbers after talking to the owners.
Councilors said they would like to see the numbers. Councilor Rick Brainard questioned whether Mesa County should also be asked to revive the ice skating venue.
“I just agonize over where the money is going to come from,” Mayor Sam Susuras said. “We don’t have that much excess money.”