Residents are straightforward: Keep park a circle
Circular turf will stay at Fruita’s Circle Park.
City leaders heard that message after residents protested an idea to transform the grassy area into a square at the park,which is inside the roundabout at the west entrance to downtown.
But city officials again are seeking the public’s input about a face-lift for that park, for East Aspen Avenue and for Civic Center Memorial Park.
An open house to unveil the latest version of plans will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the City Council chambers, which are upstairs of the Civic Center, 352 E. Aspen Ave.
City officials have budgeted about $50,000 this year toward improvements. That amount won’t nearly be enough to make changes, but the city may be able to secure grants once plans are in place, officials said.
“We’ve been, hopefully, responsive to the community,” said Ture Nycum, Fruita’s director of parks and recreation. “We’re trying to find that sweet spot to stimulate downtown.”
In general, plans to update Fruita’s downtown public places include narrowing the roundabout traffic lanes around Circle Park to make it friendlier for pedestrians. That might include adding some cobblestones around the circle in an attempt to slow down traffic.
Sidewalks on Aspen Avenue could be widened to double in size to account for more businesses offering outdoor dining and showcasing wares.
East Mesa Street, another entrance to the downtown, could receive some improvements to distinguish it as an entry point.
Plans for Civic Center Memorial Park include moving the stage to the east.
“If the stage is on the east side, people won’t be looking at the sun,” Fruita Mayor Lori Buck said. “The big goal is to open it up. That corner is really key.”
Civic Center Park upgrades include creating a plaza at its west end, to tie in downtown businesses along East Aspen Avenue.
The latest round of plans marks the fourth time leaders have come to the public asking for input, City Councilor Joel Kincaid said.
Overall, the public infrastructure has been getting more use with an increase of events in the downtown core, he said.
Complete revisions may take years, but with the community’s help, the designs should create a vibrant downtown, Kincaid said.
“We’re trying to get a nice cohesive tie-in,” he said. “We want to get people comfortable staying down there and get businesses comfortable.”