What was a barren stretch of land south of downtown Grand Junction only a few years ago is rising from the dirt like a butterfly. Quite literally.
After investing millions of dollars, leveraging grant money and arranging public-private partnerships, Grand Junction quickly made progress on framing up the Riverfront at Las Colonias Business Park in 2018. Construction crews this year crafted a lake in the shape of a butterfly, one of the amenities that will highlight the 15-acre business park, which is a portion of the rapidly changing 140-acre lower Grand Junction park.
Accelerated growth at Las Colonias is the Sentinel's No. 7 story of the year.
In 2017, the city partnered with Bonsai Design, a Grand Junction company that builds and designs aerial adventure courses, to serve as the main tenant in the business park. Earlier this year in June, the city unveiled its second tenant, RockyMounts, a Boulder-based company that makes bike racks for cars, bike locks and replacement parts.
As construction was underway in the business park, earth-moving machinery opened up a slough off the Colorado River for a water park and crews built a boat ramp. Future amenities will include a dog park and a zipline created by Bonsai.
The construction builds on several years of change at the park including the opening of the 66,000-square-foot Las Colonias Park Amphitheater in the summer of 2017 and a playground and restroom facility at the park two years earlier.
Riverfront at Las Colonias will receive more attention in the new year with $1.7 million slated to install a raw water irrigation line and dirt-moving work that will increase the slough, adding 1.8 acres of open water. The city also budgeted $250,000 for construction next year of new restrooms at the amphitheater.
Next year also looks bright for the adjoining Riverfront at Dos Rios, vacant land west of Las Colonias. City staff will create a plan to allow a mix of residential, industrial, retail and open space uses on about 60 acres.
Simultaneously, the city is moving forward with a largely grant-funded opportunity to revitalize Riverside Park. A 7-acre oblong bike park will run parallel to the Colorado River. Improvements to the park include a larger shelter, a full basketball court, swings on the playground and more parking spaces. That work should be complete by late 2019.