Fruita exchanges land with state parks

Eighty-five acres will be used to build wastewater treatment plant

The city of Fruita is adding acreage to the Colorado Riverfront Trail System near the James M. Robb State Park at Corn Lake.

In exchange Fruita is getting 85 acres of property, formerly owned by Colorado State Parks and formerly part of the Gary Refinery, to build a wastewater treatment plant southwest of town.

“It is a clear win-win for us all,” City Manager Clint Kinney said. “This is the best way for the trail to get built.”

The 85 acres is at 15 Road north of the Colorado River, south of the Greenway Business Park.

About 20 acres is for the wastewater treatment plant, anticipated to be built by 2013. The remaining land could be used for future plant expansions and open space, Fruita Mayor Ken Henry said.

As part of the land exchange, the city agreed to build a mile of the Riverfront Trail on the site, said Brad Taylor, park manager of the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park. 

The state park system is receiving from Fruita two smaller parcels in the Pear Park area, near Corn Lake: a 5.6-acre parcel at 3143 D Road, about a quarter-mile west of Corn Lake, and a 2.9-acre parcel at 2763 C 1/2 Road.

The city has closed on the 5.6 acres, but is working out details for the 2.9-acre property, Kinney said.

Henry said because of state constitutional issues, State Parks can not sell its 85 acres in Fruita and because of funding limitations it does not have the ability to buy the parcels in Pear Park.

“It has to be a property exchange,” Henry said.

The land trade moves the Riverfront Trail one step closer to reality.

“This one mile of trail that we are committing to at the wastewater plant will be approximately 20 percent of the trail needed from Fruita west,” Henry said.

The larger of the two properties that the state park system is receiving will make up a buffer between future development and existing trail, Taylor said.

The smaller property will buffer future trail linkage, he said.

Taylor said Mesa County government is predicting the area between 28 and 32 roads, the Interstate 70 Business Loop and the Colorado River will contain high-density housing in the future and count a population greater than the city of Durango.

“So I am trying to get out in front of this,” Taylor said.

In addition, Mesa County is in the process of building 1.5 miles of the Riverfront Trail from
32 Road to 33 1/2 Road.

The project includes development of the Clifton Nature Park at 32 1/2 and D roads and is scheduled to be completed by Christmas 2009, said Jessica Peterson, county spokeswoman.


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