City: First and Grand ‘wedge’ not a park
Protest meant to stake claim to grassy downtown area
Two islands of grass and trees near the intersection of First Street and Grand Avenue were never officially declared parks, according to Grand Junction’s deputy city manager.
Dozens of people gathered Wednesday afternoon at Colorado West Park to grill out in the eastern portion of the islands, which are separated by U.S. Highway 6&50, and protest the area being called a median under a 9-month-old city ordinance that bans any activity in a median besides crossing the street.
The islands are called Colorado West Park on the city’s website and used to contain trash cans and benches. But Deputy City Manager Rich Englehart said the Grand Junction City Council never officially designated the land as a park.
“We try to provide safe access and parking at parks,” Englehart said, something that area does not have.
“It’s a safety issue,” he said of including the area in the ordinance’s definition of a median.
Jacob Richards, co-founder of homeless advocacy group Housing First! No More Deaths!, spent three months helping to organize Wednesday’s cookout. He said the city should have given notice that the area was going to count as a median when the ordinance was approved.