GJ receives plan, plea for face-lift on Horizon
Horizon Drive District board members came to the Grand Junction City Council armed with numbers about economic impact and public safety, making a plea for financial support of their revitalization project.
“Horizon Drive is No-Where-Ville U.S.A. … We need to do something to distinguish our front door,” said board President Clark Atkinson, as he made the case for beautification of the street used every day by 20,000 vehicles and annually by 200,000 airport passengers.
Based on supportive council feedback, city officials will explore funding options before the next budget discussions.
This may include looking at the possibly upcoming Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights question in the April election.
The economic impact of the Horizon Drive District, which employs 2,600 people, is about $300 million a year. With development and growth that could more than double, Atkinson said.
He also touched on public safety, saying there have been 136 accidents in the last five years, six involving pedestrians crossing the street since 2005 and two fatalities since 2010. Of the four Interstate 70 interchanges, more than half of the accidents occur there.
“I want you to be thoughtful. ... We play a significant role in the vitality of the city,” said Atkinson who also presented the fiscal constraints of the district to show why they cannot afford the project alone.
The total for corridor plans, which include improvements to pedestrian travel, traffic flow and signage is estimated at $7.5 million. Atkinson broke the city commitment down to $330,000 a year spread over about 20 years.
Mayor Pro Tem Laura Luke said: “Everything you say makes perfect sense to me. … You don’t have to convince me. I ranked this as one of the top projects. … I recognize the potential. It’s huge.”
Currently, a study with Colorado Department of Transportation is planned for the project. The next steps would be completing plans and studies in 2013 and construction would start in February or March of 2014, city officials said.
Councilman Bennett Boeschenstein said he has long thought this “little Las Vegas strip with signs all over the place” needed to be re-examined
“Horizon Drive is one that really needs our attention. … It’s one of our premier entrances and it needs our help,” he said.