The town of Palisade could soon have another way to access the Colorado River if the town and Colorado Department of Transportation can come to a lease agreement.
The agreement is still being worked on and there is some additional environmental review that needs to be done, Palisade Town Administrator Janet Hawkinson said. CDOT originally and proposed the idea.
The land includes a little more than 3 acres along the river directly north of the U.S. Highway 6 bridge on the east side of the river.
Some work would be required of the town to make the area usable, Hawkinson said.
“If we are able to obtain a lease from CDOT, we’d clean it out,” Hawkinson said. “Right now, people are doing illegal dumping, dumping in the river. We’d clean it out to be another river access point for people to enjoy.”
In addition to the trash, Hawkinson said tamarisk and Russian olive need to be cleared out as well. They are invasive species that grow along the river- bank.
Hawkinson said there might be some opportunities for citizens to volunteer to turn the area into a small riverside park. However, the area will remain a natural area; some trails and river access would be added.
“It will still stay a natural park,” Hawkinson said. “We’re not going to lay a bunch of sod and irrigation. We’ll clean up the tamarisk out of there and clean up some of the debris. There are places inside of it where trash has been left.”
CDOT had originally used the site while it was constructing the U.S. Highway 6 bridge and now doesn’t have a use for it.
Hawkinson said the town was excited about the idea and that the existing river access points are well-used by residents and visitors.