Mesa County, District 51, Fruita purchase land for park, school

The city of Fruita, Mesa County and School District 51 have pooled their assets and purchased a 40-acre plot west of Fruita, with plans to build a school and a park there years from now.

The three agencies agreed to spend $1.12 million to acquire the property at the southeast corner of 16 and L roads from the Etchart family. Fruita will pick up the biggest chunk of the cost at $456,000, with District 51 and the county contributing $364,000 and $300,000, respectively.

Fruita will use 27 of the acres, with the remaining 13 acres going to the school district.

The city plans to develop a park and open space on most of its portion of the land, while District 51 will reserve its part for a future elementary school site, according to City Manager Clint Kinney and District 51 spokeswoman Christy McGee.

Kinney said the desire to purchase the property grew out of the city’s community plan, which was approved last spring and directs how the community will grow through 2020. The plan forecasts significant growth south of L Road and west of 19 Road.

“It was one of those opportunities we wanted to take advantage of now because we knew there would be a demand in the future,” Kinney said.

He said city officials began talking with landowners west of town, found the Etcharts and explained to the family the city’s and District 51’s plans for the area.

“They loved that idea and lowered their price,” Kinney said. “They were civic-minded about it.”

City officials estimated the Etcharts’ property was valued at at least $40,000 an acre, but the family sold it for $28,000 an acre. The city will consider naming the future park after the family.

Kinney said the land will remain in agricultural production until the city and school district decide to develop it.


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