Parking design in flux on downtown block

Plans for parking in the 400 block of Main Street may change once again after Grand Junction City Council members asked the Downtown Development Authority to see if an altered design for the block could squeeze in a few more spaces.

DDA members attended a City Council workshop Monday and presented the tentative 400 block design to council members. The design hadn’t changed much since August, when the city approved a budget, design and time line for the project.

However, there were two changes. A play area with a water fountain slated for the southwest end of the block and a play area without a fountain slated for the northeast end of the block had been switched, and the block likely will contain a large statue of Colorado National Monument booster John Otto, following a meeting the authority board had with members of the Legends Historic Sculptures Project, which commissions sculptures of famous figures in the Grand Valley.

DDA Executive Director Heidi Hoffman Ham said the design aimed to incorporate preferences of the community and downtown merchants. Ham said she received numerous public comments supporting a pedestrian mall-style setting downtown. The DDA went from having no parking spots in the 400 block to having eight spots last summer after merchants in the block expressed concern about a lack of parking.

Councilman Gregg Palmer, who owns Brown’s Shoe Fit at 425 Main St., said some merchants on the block have not been placated by the additional spots. Palmer said he wants to make sure merchants are OK with whatever happens to the block during construction, set to take place during the first six months of next year. Construction will occur at the same time on the 500 and 600 blocks of Main Street, as well.

“Parking is a line of sight issue,” he said. “If you can park 100 feet from a store and see it, people will prefer that to parking 50 feet away around the corner.”

DDA board member Harry Griff countered that the project eliminated a few spaces on all six downtown blocks of Main Street, but added 100 on side streets.

“To me it would be galling if, after all the comments made, all the money spent, all the meetings, to have a disgruntled property owner on the 400 block of Main Street win the day would be disappointing,” Griff said.

Council members agreed at Monday’s workshop they mostly approve of the DDA’s vision for downtown Main Street. But they asked the DDA to examine the viability of adding at least three or four spots to the 400 block.


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