Las Colonias Park Information
Las Colonias Park is 130 acres and sits adjacent to downtown Grand Junction along the banks of the Colorado River. It has a diverse and rich history, as it is situated just upstream from the namesake of the community, the confluence of the Gunnison and Colorado Rivers, and has strong connections to the rest of the community along an existing and expanding Riverfront Trail system. The park was formerly used as migrant farm housing then a uranium mill which produced 2.2 million tons of radioactive tailings. Not unlike other Western Slope riverfront communities, parts of the park were used as a junkyard until the 1980’s. Thanks to strong civic leadership, the area was cleaned up and is being developed as a riverfront park amenity. Read the History of Las Colonias Park completed by local Colorado Mesa University students in 2015.
In 1987, a group of local community leaders formed the Colorado Riverfront Commission bringing together Palisade, Grand Junction, Fruita, Mesa County, and Colorado State Parks to work together towards a “string of pearls” and contiguous river corridor trail and park system along the Colorado River. Eight “pearls” and approximately 21 miles of riverfront trail have been developed over the past 20 years. Las Colonias Park holds great significance as the last “pearl” in the “string of pearls” vision.
Las Colonias River Park
Over the last several years of planning and developing Las Colonias Park, the City learned there is tremendous support to balance park, river, active, passive, business, and all other types of use of the park. The goal is to restore what was previously a riparian area and to increase recreational use of the riverfront. The scope of the project includes: an additional inlet channel and an extension of the existing water channel with recreational elements, re-vegetation, and interpretative signage. A new inlet channel will be constructed to allow flowing water for a greater period of the year, to control flow distribution to function appropriately in the existing river system, and to avoid adverse impacts to existing aquatic habitat in the main channel of the Colorado River or any secondary channels. Upon completion, the excavated channel extension will have continuous water flow when the Colorado River flows are above 810 cubic feet per second. This excavation will add 1.77 acres of open water, increasing the area of aquatic habitat at the site while enhancing recreation in the park as well as the natural aesthetics of the area. The streambanks of the new channels will be planted with native riparian vegetation, providing erosion control, a riparian buffer, and increased habitat. Find more information.
Riverfront at Las Colonias Park
Through a public/private partnership, the City is developing a Business Park at the east end of Las Colonias Park, integrating it into the community park, which includes the recently completed Amphitheater. The Business Park includes the development of approximately 10-15 acres of the Park as a Google-like campus to attract outdoor recreation related businesses, combined with public park amenities consistent with the Las Colonias Master Plan.
The City is partnering with the Downtown Development Authority to build the Business Park for an overall public/private investment of $30 million ($10 million public and $20 million private). City Council approved an incentive package for the retention and expansion of Bonsai Design, an existing outdoor recreation business, as an anchor tenant in the Business Park. The company would also actively participate with Grand Junction Economic Partnership in the recruitment of businesses to the Park.
The ambitious plan for the Park will restore and enhance the banks of the Colorado River, celebrate the history of the area, provide access for trail use and passive recreation and create a unique outdoor events venue with a regional draw. In addition to the economic benefits of the recreational park as a regional draw, the Business Park will provide a desirable setting for the attraction and retention of Outdoor Recreation Industries that will strengthen the Valley’s economic growth and diversification. The public investment will also be a catalyst for private reinvestment and revitalization of the River and Rail Districts envisioned in the Greater Downtown Plan.
The amphitheater offers multi-functional opportunities for small, medium, and large crowds surrounded by the perfect backdrop along the Colorado River and adjacent to the Colorado Riverfront Trail. The design includes a 40x60 foot stage with ample back of house amenities such as a green room and side wings, as well as parking and gently sloped lawn seating. The community raised $2.1 million locally to match a $1.6 million grant from the Department of Local Affairs. Local fundraising support is thanks to the Downtown Development Authority, Riverfront Foundation, Goodwin Foundation, Bacon Family Foundation, Grand Junction Lions Club, El Pomar Foundation, Gates Family Foundation, Department of Energy, Navarro, and the City of Grand Junction.
CLICK HERE to see more about the Las Colonias Park Amphitheater
Phase I of Las Colonias Park was officially opened to the public on July 11, 2015 and includes a restroom/shelter, a native arboretum, trail connections, and parking. The development made for a tremendous improvement for existing and new park users and is thanks to the following outstanding organizations: City of Grand Junction, Great Outdoors Colorado, Colorado Riverfront Foundation, Grand Junction Lions Club, Parks Improvement Advisory Board, Colorado Garden Foundation, Downtown Development Authority, Western Colorado Conservation Corps, Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, and Strive. Learn more about native plants by visiting the Las Colonias Native Arboretum and using the posted QR codes or use the following link here. The Confluence Shelter is available for reservation by calling 970-254-3866.
Las Colonias Park Master Plans
In 2013 revision to the Las Colonias Park Master Plan was approved by City Council on July 3, 2013. Different from the previous two master plans, the 2013 plan took a comprehensive view at all the City-owned property from 5th Street Bridge on the west to the Orchard Mesa Pedestrian Bridge on the east allowing for a comprehensive evaluation of the entire area to create synergy between the current and future uses of the overall park property. The master plan was later updated and subsequently approved by City Council on May 5, 2017, to account for the addition of the business park and the overall development of the Riverfront at Las Colonias Park.
Stay Involved and Informed
- Email Ken Sherbenou at email@example.com, or call him at 970-254-3881