Decades delayed, industrial park close to fruition in Parachute

PARACHUTE — Hayden Rader’s gamble finally appears to be paying off — just 16 years later than planned, and not as the casino development he had envisioned.

His belated payoff should be the town’s, too, as it gains a new industrial and commercial project and completion of a big part of a planned four-lane bypass connecting Garfield County Road 215 up Parachute Creek to U.S. 6 and 24 southwest of town.

Other developers originally began work on the property before the oil shale bust of the early 1980s.

“They basically pulled the plug right after they got the water and sewer lines installed,” Rader said.

Rader put together a group in the early 1990s that bought the property with the idea of bringing the gambling industry to Parachute. But Colorado voters said no dice to that proposal in 1992.

Eventually, the energy industry returned to Parachute, this time in the form of natural gas development.

Rader recently began construction on the $6 million, 24-lot Parachute Park project, making use of the original water and sewer lines. The project is expected to be completed in November.

Marathon Oil Co. has contracted to buy two of the lots, and its plans include a 10,000-square-foot office, Rader said.

Rader has won town approval for an adjacent 13-acre light industrial project, and at the behest of the town he agreed to put in 78 condominiums next to Parachute Park to help meet the area’s housing

Rader said the town’s other major interest was getting its long-planned bypass built. The bypass will bisect Parachute Park, and Rader got ExxonMobil to dedicate land north of his property to the town so the bypass could reach County Road 215.

Town manager Robert Knight said Parachute is planning to meet soon with county and state officials about the bypass, and he hopes to begin construction in the spring. The town also will ask for help from energy companies, both for the bypass and for a new interchange the town hopes to get built to the west to take pressure off its congested main Interstate 70 exit.

The energy industry is responsible for much of that congestion. It’s also spurring what Knight said is a lot of interest in business development in town. He thinks Rader’s project will provide a place for some of that development to occur.

“There’s a lot of people who have their eyes on Parachute,” he said.


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