From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Duffy Hayes):
“You might ask, why is this important to the city and our community, why is the river park important? Well it’s a much improved and a safe option for users, be they kayak users, tubers or kids just learning how to fish,” Grand Junction Mayor Rick Taggart said. “It’s a very user-friendly place for them to come.”
The $1.3 million river park project will mean the creation of a new inlet channel as well as an extension of the channel that already exists. The city is touting enhanced stream hydrology and improved aquatic habitat along the stretch of the river, but it’s the recreational features in the new secondary channel that are envisioned as a future draw for floaters and boaters.
“It’s all about activation of the waterfront, as an interactive amenity for the city’s parks system, as well as increasing some of the habitat there,” said city Public Works Director Trent Prall, when the project was approved by Grand Junction City Council members in July.
The slough extension means that whenever the main stem of the Colorado measures more than 800 cubic feet per second, the city can expect a share of that water to flow through the new section, which includes a few slight drops as well as rock jetties that will form a number of pools for people on the river to enjoy. Native riparian plantings, bioengineered bank stabilization and interpretive elements will only add to the river park’s recreational capabilities.
The city secured more than $600,000 in grant dollars for the project from entities including Great Outdoors Colorado, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Colorado Basin Roundtable and One Riverfront.
Prall in July described the river park as “the last element to Las Colonias Park,” which has sprung to life this spring and summer with new roads and parking areas, initial construction of retail and restroom facilities, and the final touches on the park’s signature butterfly-inspired lake.
The park, the city notes, fits into a larger revitalization of the Riverfront area, which includes the Amphitheater at Las Colonias and the Las Colonias Business park nearby.