Fruita offers kid’s activities and affordable loan programs
Fruita embraces its small-town charm and quirkiness, but is constantly working on the balancing act to create a vibrant community for business while maintaining its family-friendly vibe and small-town feel.
Trails are an important feature for Fruita residents, and the town opened up the Fremont Trail, near 18 1/2 between Ottley and the Fruita 8/9 School to provide a safe way for children to walk to school last fall.
“There are a ton of kids using it and it’s awesome,” said Clint Kinney, Fruita city manager. “It’s in the exact right spot to get kids to and from school.”
The town is also currently working to extend the Salt Wash Trail from where it meanders west of town along Highway 6 & 50 underneath both Interstate 70 and the railroad all the way to the Colorado River State Park, which could give local riders one more prime destination when they’re looking for a paved route in the Fruita area.
“The Fruita Bike Park will be done by the end of April,” Kinney said. The Bike Park, which is on the east side of Highway 340 near the Colorado River, has picnic shelters, a small playground area and plenty of terrain for bikers of all levels. It’s a great addition to a town that’s already well-known for biking.
The Fruita Chamber of Commerce is continually trying to raise the visibility of businesses on both sides of Interstate 70 and has recently formed a focus group with businesses on the south side of the interstate.
“They feel like they’re forgotten over there,” said Shauna Exner, director of the Fruita Chamber. The focus group, which meets on the third Wednesday of the month, has already decided to hold a big Fourth of July celebration on its side of the freeway to encourage people to drive over to the south side.
“They’ll have a concert, kids’s games, a penny scramble and a teen stage,” Exner said.
There is still plenty of commercial land available for development on the south side of the interstate, and the chamber is actively engaged in looking for an anchor store that will help draw consumers to that side of the freeway.
The John McConnell Math and Science Center is considering a move from Orchard Mesa to Fruita that would put them on the south side of the freeway next to Dinosaur Journey. Right now, the math and science center and the museum are considering a partnership that would give them some shared spaces and some separate spaces.
“We’ve looked all over the Grand Valley,” said Teresa Coons, director of the math and science center. “How cool would it be to develop a museum and educational complex?”
The new math and science facility would be where the old railroad car in the parking lot of Dinosaur Journey currently sits, and the plan is still in very preliminary stages. It will be at least two to three years before the center is ready to build.
The math and science center would have a separate building for exhibits and administration and there would be a joint building with an auditorium and classroom that would be used by both Dinosaur Journey and the math and science center. With the new Children’s Nature Center that recently opened on Jurassic Avenue across Highway 340, that gives families plenty of options for a learning adventure in Fruita.
Families who want to move to Fruita can be assured that Fruita remains a rural community under the guidelines of the USDA, which offers housing loans with 100 percent financing in rural communities. Talk to a qualified mortgage lender to get full details about the loan program and take a look at the Fruita homes available in this issue of Real Estate Weekly.