Montrose sets up river corridor plan

MONTROSE — The Montrose City Council approved the multiyear, multimillion-dollar Uncompahgre Riverway Master Plan to develop a 10-mile stretch of the Uncompahgre River corridor for recreation and commercial development.

Council members Thomas Smits, Carol McDermott, Gail Marvel and Mayor Kathy Ellis all voted in support of the plan, while one council member, Bill Patterson, was absent.

Dennis Erickson, city of Montrose parks planner and project manager for the master plan, told council members Tuesday that the plan was one of the best ways to preserve the river corridor for future generations.

The plan, with its projected $25 million cost, dissects the 10-mile corridor into 16 sections between Woodgate Road, south of Montrose, to an area near the city’s water-treatment facility, north of town. Each section is laid out with goals of increasing access to the river, preventing erosion, and setting aside whitewater areas and areas zoned for commercial development.

The city budgeted $150,000 in 2011 to begin implementing the plan. Additional money received includes a $75,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado and $50,000 in matching funds from the city.

The plan could take decades to complete, as funding must come from financial partnerships with state, federal and various   outdoor groups. Those alliances could take years to solidify, and the plan says 2011 projected costs could change over time.

Additional elements to the plan include increased signage along Townsend Avenue and Main Street in an attempt to lure more people to the river.

The master plan adopted ideas from whitewater parks, pedestrian bridges and other river-based green space found in Canon City, Durango and Salida.

The plan is available for review on the city’s website, http://www.cityofmontrose.org.

In other City Council news, Montrose Mayor Kathy Ellis was re-elected to a second term, and McDermott was elected mayor pro tem by the council.


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