CLIFTON: Signs point to a flurry of future projects
While development and construction isn’t happening at breakneck speed in Clifton, county planners say they have begun to hear from business people who have commercial projects in mind for the area.
“There’s nothing so concrete that we can throw out names,” said Kay Simonson, senior planner with Mesa County, “but we’re having preliminary discussions. Some (projects) are along the 32 Road corridor, some are on the F Road/Highway 6 corridor.”
Activity has been almost non-existent in Clifton, so preliminary discussions and talk of future projects is welcome news to the county,
“It’s refreshing to see that people are starting to look at Clifton and want to reinvest in the area,” Simonson said.
The county has made a few road and sidewalk improvements, including building sidewalk near Clifton Elementary School to give children a place of shelter for evacuation in case an emergency forces them out of the school building and off school grounds.
“We’d been trying to get sidewalks in the area for a long time,” said Jim Nall with the Mesa County public works department. “We would like to see downtown (Clifton) get revitalized, with curb, gutter and sidewalk. This is just the first step.”
The county is currently working to make roads in Clifton safer by widening some of the narrowest curves in the area and is also working with the Colorado Department of Transportation to improve the road surface and install a new traffic light at E Road and 32 Road.
Some entrepreneurial business owners aren’t waiting for the county to make improvements before they’ll get enthusiastic about Clifton. Gerry Casselberry and his wife, Elyse Akerman-Casselberry opened Clifton Auto Body and Paint about two and a half years ago on Second Street in Clifton.
“There’s opportunity in Clifton. People don’t want to drive all the way to the mall,” Akerman-Casselberry said. Clifton Auto Body and Paint is the only auto body shop in the Clifton area, and Akerman-Casselberry said they’ve seen the business grow.
The growing business and lack of services in Clifton encouraged them to get involved in a second Clifton business opportunity. Recla Metals, a steel service center in Montrose that recycles old metals and sells new steel products, wanted to expand into the Grand Valley.
“I have a long history with Gerry,” said Greg Fulks, partner with the Clifton Recla Metals facility. The Fulks family wanted a trustworthy business partner who knew the area and all the pieces fell into place to open a Recla Metals collection facility in the building next to Clifton Auto Body.
“There’s a good opportunity for us to grow that facility,” Fulks said. Although the company anticipated that they would collect non-ferrous material like copper and aluminum. Instead, they’re seeing a lot of steel come through the facility. Regardless, the company, which opened its Clifton site in July, is pleased with the business activity.
There’s opportunity for other businesses to expand to Clifton in a prime location. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) has recently subdivided its parcel into four sections and has them listed for sale. Clifton Vineyard Church currently leases the building and is hoping to buy that parcel, but three others are available. Although IBEW may build a new building for itself on one of the parcels, that’s not the best plan for the organization.
“My concept is that we should be in place where people go,” said Joshua Carpenter. “IBEW is a people business; we help electricians get hired. Our tentative plan is to find a location that has more foot traffic.”
Dale Beede with Coldwell Banker Prime Properties is listing the available parcels.
Clifton remains one of the most affordable places in the valley to purchase residential real estate. The average price for a stick-built single-family residential home in the area is $152,199. There are currently 49 active listings in Clifton, with prices ranging from $54,000 to $525,000.