Common themes arise when discussing the Grand Valley. These comments then become a part of a collective “wish list” of how we’d like to see the area grow and prosper. The questions then remain. How will it happen? When?
Relying on community involvement in former area growth plan studies, we find some trends that help design Grand Junction and Mesa County well into the next 20 years. We’re planning for more neighborhood centers and less urban sprawl. Agricultural areas are protected as much as possible. And there’s a focus on the visual splendor of the valley and outdoor recreation that goes with it. An important part of the picture requires growth in employment and clean industry, higher paying jobs and a thriving university.
Here’s a compilation of ideas for our wish list.
For area shoppers, the first name mentioned by nearly everyone is Costco. Yes, Grand Junction is ready for a Costco, to the point of pleading. An interesting side note: The City of Fruita has been so involved in growing by thinking outside the box, don’t be surprised if they get tired of waiting for a City Market expansion and instead bring in a Costco to meet shoppers’ needs. You can say you read it here first. Other shopping wants, in no particular order, include an Athleta clothing store, Nordstrom and Macy’s as well as a new sporting goods store. Additional restaurants include a Mad Greens, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos and Mod Pizza, to name a few. Do you envision a Porsche and Audi dealer in the area?
Area travel will be made easier by turning Broadway into a four-lane highway, completing the interchange at Interstate Highway 70 and 29 Road and improving and extending the Riverside Parkway. The Broadway widening will have the additional benefit of allowing further development west of the Redlands Mesa area. The expected new runway at the Grand Junction Regional Airport will help bring that facility into the 21st century. A modern and expanded terminal building will do even more to please travelers.
By the way, a new museum designed to interest children in aviation would potentially be a huge draw for the region if completed properly. Imagine families bringing their children to Grand Junction to experience the museum with its World War II aircraft, flying simulators and actual airplanes children could touch and get into.
Picture, too, a technology and innovation center already planned adjacent to the new Community Hospital and future Huntsman cancer center. The proximity of I-70 and U.S. Highway 6 & 50 and a widened G Road would make the access to the center easy from anywhere. Plenty of broadband width will be a given, both here and throughout the community. And with advanced technology degree programs at Colorado Mesa University, employers will have their choice of quality employees who already know and love the area. Grand Junction will become known as the next Silicon Valley, only without the smog and exasperating traffic.
As long as we’re wishing, how about a community comprised of citizens more concerned about being good neighbors and pitching in than whether you’re a conservative or liberal? We’re about there. Let’s add residents who’re active and walk, run and bike to work on a regular basis and new housing that’s efficient and located close to new jobs. How about a civic center large enough to bring major performers into our community? Do you see the vision?
All of the above could be accomplished if we each do our part to help make the Grand Valley an exciting and vibrant place to live and work. It takes more effort than money, and the time is now.