Prime patch of parkland
If you want to weigh in on the future of what would be the largest park in Grand Junction, make plans to attend an open house on Thursday.
The meeting is the first in a series of open houses planned for residents to offer input on the future development of Matchett Park, a 207-acre parcel on the north side of Patterson Road near 28 1/4 Road.
After holding public meetings in January, February and March, city officials hope to present a master plan to city councilors to be approved in early summer.
The first open house for residents to make comments on a master plan for Matchett Park starts at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Faith Heights Church, 600 28 1/4 Road.
The site currently is home to an 18-hole disc golf course in several acres of rugged terrain. Much of the remaining land, which sports agricultural fields ringed by walking paths, has been leased to a farmer.
The city purchased the site in 1996 from Ken and Sally Matchett, but it wasn’t until 2012 that city councilors gave the nod to begin planning the park.
“The important part of the master plan is that it gives us the blueprint for what we can do with that park,” said Traci Wieland, project manager for the Matchett Park planning process. “Without a plan it’s really difficult for us to do anything else. This is the first step to have some sort of a plan.”
The master plan includes planned uses for the park and must be approved by city councilors. Once approval is granted, councilors then have to approve funding to implement the plan. Sometimes master plans are completed and approved but not carried out. In those cases, master plans can be updated, or the process starts anew.
This marks the first master plan process for Matchett Park. Councilors in 2012 indicated they wanted plans for Las Colonias Park, which covers about 100 acres near the Colorado River in south downtown, and Matchett Park completed simultaneously.
Grand Junction already has received a $75,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado for the Matchett Park master plan. The plan should cost about $100,000, Wieland said.
“That will be about 75 percent of the cost,” she said. “We got pretty darn lucky to get that grant and have somebody else pay for it.”
It’s too early to surmise a price tag for a completed park, and those costs would waver depending on the amenities, Wieland said. Those costs should be identified when a master plan is completed.
“A master plan gives you a plan so you can solicit grants and funding sources,” Wieland said.
Since the completion of Canyon View Park in 1997 and Long Family Memorial Park in 2006, demand for playing fields, green spaces and park shelters has increased, according to the city.
City officials see Matchett Park as being centrally located to one of the Grand Valley’s largest population bases. The park is in an area that has limited access to nearby green space.
A natural fit for the park would be playing fields and trails, but more suggestions are encouraged. Some youths have been pressing the city to incorporate a skateboarding park at the site. Others have touted the property for a recreation center.
For information, sign up for monthly online newsletters about the project at http://www.gjcity.org.