North Avenue revamp plans revealed Wed.
Want a sneak peek at the future of Grand Junction’s oldest retail district?
An open house from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Stocker Stadium’s Lincoln Park Tower aims to inform residents about a host of improvements slated for North Avenue.
Plans to spruce up the four-mile corridor have been percolating for about two years, thanks in part to a grassroots effort by business owners along the route who started the North Avenue Owners Association.
Those who attend will get a first look at design plans for lighting, median and sidewalk upgrades, striping for bike lanes and landscaping improvements along the entire corridor. One portion of the roadway, between 12th Street and 23rd Street, will undergo construction first.
“This will be a kick-off,” said Kathy Portner, neighborhood services manager for the city of Grand Junction. “There will be conceptual drawings for people to look at.”
Portner said one of the aspects she finds most exciting of the first phase of the project will be more space for pedestrians heading east on North Avenue’s sidewalk past Lincoln Park Golf Course. The fence will be moved in toward the golf course, creating a friendlier path.
Momentum to create a coordinated look along North Avenue is buoyed in part by successes seen and planned in the north part of the city on Horizon Drive. Members of the Horizon Drive Business Improvement District recently were awarded a $4 million grant by the state to complete a first phase of improvements, which will include two roundabouts near the intersection with Interstate 70.
On North Avenue, new construction by Colorado Mesa University, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and at Lincoln Park, also have helped improve the street’s viability, Portner said.
In conjunction with the designs, members of the North Avenue Owners Association are working to create a funding mechanism for future projects, called a TIF. A TIF, Tax Increment Financing model, sets aside taxes that otherwise would be collected on any new development. That money, above the current collected tax base, would be spent on pre-defined infrastructure projects.
It does not create new taxes for current businesses, and it does not redirect funds that would go to the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, or TABOR, Portner said.
Grand Junction’s city councilors have given city staff the go-ahead to work on initial plans for creating the TIF model for the North Avenue owners group. Members have said the TIF would help the area because it encourages growth and helps identify funds for improvements.
“It’s a process that takes time,” said Poppy Woody, president of the North Avenue Owners Association. Woody owns Grand Mesa Medical Supply, 1708 North Ave. “You’re not going to get a government entity to do anything quickly,” she said. “We want things done immediately, but there are things that are happening.”
Already, the City of Grand Junction with the help of North Avenue Owners Association created some smoother transitions for sidewalks and bus stops in front of businesses.