Land deal will fill trail gap in Fruita

Mesa County, the city of Fruita and the Colorado Riverfront Foundation are prepared to purchase a long sought-after property that will link the Riverfront Trail to the heart of the city.

The Fruita City Council and the Riverfront Foundation have signed off on spending $335,000 to buy four parcels totaling 15.7 acres directly north of the city’s sewer treatment plant. County commissioners are expected to authorize the purchase this month.

The three entities will split the cost of the purchase, with the county paying $185,000, Fruita $100,000 and the Riverfront Foundation $50,000.

Fruita City Manager Clint Kinney said officials have been negotiating with the owners of the property for seven or eight years, and at least three appraisals have been done, resulting in wide variations of the land’s value.

“This truly is a cornerstone for the Riverfront Trail,” Fruita Mayor Ken Henry said. “Without this, the Riverfront Trail would probably end here.”

The property will allow the trail to run adjacent to the Little Salt Wash and underneath Interstate 70. It also will allow for a connection to Kokopelli Trail to the west.

There is no timetable to build the trail, Kinney said. The county has asked for bids to design a section of the Riverfront Trail from 24 Road west to the Fruita Welcome Center. Because of the competitive construction bidding environment, he said officials hope to save some money and apply those savings to the design of the trail.

The Riverfront Foundation and local governments are angling to build a continuous Riverfront Trail from one end of the Grand Valley to the other.

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