Rethinking Grand Avenue

Planners present designs to Town Hall, will take feedback till April 4

Courtesy A map by planners of the Colorado Center for Community Development shows the three lots with potential to be revamped for public use through seating and shade structures. Enlargephoto

Courtesy A map by planners of the Colorado Center for Community Development shows the three lots with potential to be revamped for public use through seating and shade structures.

Envision three lots on Grand Avenue with inviting benches under shade trees, paths down to the river, and a community garden.

These are some of the ideas that community planners from the Colorado Center for Community Development presented at a meeting Monday night. The three lots that would be revamped are the corner lot on Main Street and Grand Avenue, the area behind the mural, and the narrow space next to The Mancos Times building.

The planners got to work after a meeting in January where community members told them about key events, like Mancos Days, and symbols, relating to the Wild West, that define town. The planners used this direction to craft plans that would turn the lots into usable space that would be open to the community, said Chris Endreson a technical-assistance coordinator.

"The goal is to invigorate the community," he said.

Endreson and two research assistants presented three development options for each lot.

Find the all the plans here: http://bit.ly/1gq57Tq

For the corner of Main Street and Grand Avenue, Lisa Hanano suggested a community garden and a band shell. In all three of her designs, she used different combinations of picnic areas and pathways. She also suggested opening up the area to the farmers market.

Behind the mural, plans were drawn for a tiered parklike area with three levels. Andrew Chapin presented two ideas in which people could walk from Grand Avenue to a deck that would overlook a lower seating area. In his third plan, he proposed a sloped hillside instead of a deck. But all paths would eventually lead down to a fishing hole.

For the area next to The Mancos Times, Hanano, presented three very different ideas including a beer garden, a space for temporary art shows and a simple path surrounded by natural grasses leading down to the river.

Even if the lots were developed for public use, the owners would retain the right to sell the spaces in the future. But the improvements would open the space up for public use in the meantime, and designs for improvements were kept minimal so the area would be easy to build on, Endreson said.

The planning program is funded through a matching grant program through the Department of Local Affairs, and they contributed $1,500 for the design work. The town also paid $1,500.

The designers will finalize their plans based on community feedback in the coming weeks and provide guidance on how to create the spaces in the plans. But it's up to community to make them reality.

"The community has to get behind almost all of this, without that, it is going to be stagnant," Endreson said.

Ruedi Bear, the owner of the property behind the mural on Grand Avenue, voiced his disappointment that the other property owners could not attend because their involvement is critical.

"You can't go and make a project unless you have total cooperation between everybody, every single guy that has an interest should be here," he said.

Town Administrator Andrea Phillips said the other property owners had been kept informed of the plans.

"I think they would be amenable," she said.

Bear also emphasized that revitalization efforts to bring out the natural beauty of Mancos are critical.

"What we should all should really realize is that Mancos needs some action. Mancos needs a little more fun," he said.

Other community concerns included watering all the new plants, and Endreson suggested using mainly native grasses to keep watering to a minimum.

Similar design work has been done through the Department of Local Affairs and Endreson's group in communities including Salida, Walsenburg and Trinidad.

To view all the plans visit Mancostimes.com or the storefront next to the Artisans of Mancos.

The group will take feedback until April 4, and citizens can find surveys at mancoscolorado.com or call the town at 533-7725 to voice their opinion.