The City of Grand Junction plans to conduct a series of meetings to consider a new master plan for the city and Grand Valley. The meetings will allow various stakeholders in the community to weigh in on how they’d like to see the city develop and grow over the next 10 to 20 years.
I can only guess at what will come of these meetings. But if you consider what happened at growth plan meetings over the last 20 years, some likely possibilities emerge.
First, we’ll undoubtedly find the meetings result in a request that more city centers be developed through the Grand Junction area. This would include the 24 Road corridor, the 23 and H roads area, new development near the airport and Orchard Mesa retail. That’s not to mention new housing, Mesa Mall and 29 Road at North Avenue. As we grow and prosper as a community, outside city centers will help alleviate the stress currently found on U.S. Highway 6 & 50 and Patterson Road.
That affords a natural segue into transportation. What do we want major transportation corridors to look like in 20 years? Will the 29 Road exchange on Interstate Highway 70 really be built? Will new commercial and industrial uses grow around that intersection? Does it make sense to widen the Riverside Parkway? How about 24 Road? Will Broadway finally become a four-lane highway?
What will it take to create beltways that support new residential development and the retail and commercial development that follows? It might be interesting, too, to see what Ute and Pitkin avenues would look like if the tight curves were removed and the streets widened.
What can we do to support and grow jobs? Will we spend money for real fiber and high-speed internet access to beckon new industry to our community? Will we brand ourselves as the next tech mecca? How about charging stations for electric automobiles? Bike paths? Walking paths? Is our riverfront development going to prosper? Will we slowly turn the lower downtown and riverfront area into an entertainment and multi-family housing area? How do we do that? What’s needed first? Second?
Finally, what’s important to Grand Valley residents? Is it to eliminate non-agricultural burning? Do we want to protect our skyline with low-elevation construction or maximize residential and commercial development in certain areas by erecting high-rise buildings?
Do we favor job growth in all sectors or focus on high-tech and outdoor manufacturing? What strengths do we look forward to building in the Grand Junction area? What will we attempt to eliminate? Who ultimately gets to make those decisions?
Planning is a worthy endeavor. Good, reasonable planning bodes well as we enter a new era and work to attract clean industry to our area. Pay attention to the planning process, attend meetings if you’re able and put in the effort to help build this community. Our children depend on it.