I attended a public meeting last Tuesday night April 9th with an estimated 200 residents at the Two Rivers Convention Center to discuss the One Grand Junction comprehensive plan. Fortunately, this first meeting is only the beginning of many conversations to come about what we want this naturally beautiful area to look like in the next 10 to 20 years. The project website contains a social map to share ideas for where you live and find out the City-County boundary lines.
At the public meeting we shared our issues, concerns, and suggestions for future actions. The majority of the people identified Smart Growth as their #1 issue. Within in the city limits, we’re seeing a housing boom increasing over the past three years with corn fields getting converted to closely spaced single family tract homes, typically with eight houses per acre. There appears to be a lack of infrastructure planning to widen roads, build sidewalks and bike paths, create new neighborhood parks and preserve open space to keep the small-town feeling.
I felt surprised that water and drought issues did not rank very high on the concerns list. I brought it up to a few people who thought that they did not see people wasting water. There is much more work to be done to communicate water issues to the community!
The biggest obstacle I currently observe is the need for proactive jurisdictional partnerships. To put it simply, all the various government officials need to develop a unified plan of working together. About 75% of the land in Mesa County is federal. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is being proposed to move its headquarters to Grand Junction but this did not come up at the planning meeting. The State controls funding for school districts and Mesa County is very poorly funded compared to more affluent areas of Colorado. Due to different tax rates, there are big differences between city and county services. So fulfilling the vision of One Grand Junction will take a lot of people finding and sharing common ground!
If you want more information on these activities, contact David Thornton, AICP Principle Planner with the City of Grand Junction, 970-244-1450, firstname.lastname@example.org