North Avenue planning garners award

The City of Grand Junction has earned recognition for long-term planning for North Avenue that calls for not only retail businesses, but also office space and housing.

The Colorado Chapter of the American Planning Association presented the city its merit award in the category for projects with small budgets.

The city has developed long-range plans for the North Avenue corridor, creating districts along various portions of North Avenue to accommodate different uses. The plans also take into account aesthetics and safety in promoting the construction of buildings closer to the street with parking along the side or in the rear, signs on buildings, inviting streetscapes and wider sidewalks

The award judging committee praised the city for its efforts to promote urban renewal and involve the community in the process, including an advisory committee of business and property owners.

Even as the city developed plans for the North Avenue corridor, business and property owners also organized a group to renew efforts to revitalize what was once one of the most vibrant commercial districts in the city.

The group has set a number of goals, among them improving the appearance along North Avenue and enforcing more consistent regulations for signs and landscaping. The ultimate goal is to develop a distinctive commercial district that attracts businesses and their customers.

Construction is scheduled to begin early next year on improvements along North Avenue, including sidewalks, crosswalks, bus pullouts and lighting.

The design and construction work was funded from a nearly $1.2 million grant from the Federal Transportation, Community and System Preservation Program for the project. The program offers funding to carry out projects that integrate transportation, community and preservation plans.