Parkway, Ambulance Service Among Hot Issues For 2006

With work on the $35 million Riverside Parkway already slated to begin Grand Junction got down to business in 2006 acquiring all right-of-ways for the project, including the Van Gundy property which ended in a controversial decision by the city council. In addition to the Riverside Parkway the city's public works department has been busy carrying out the watershed protection ordinance adopted by the council in September. 2006 was a year of change for the fire department which saw its leader of 11 years, former Chief Rick Beaty step down amid allegations of drug use. Beaty's resignation in March came just weeks after the city council approved a resolution making the fire department the sole provider of ambulance service in Mesa County. There were also other significant personnel changes, former police Chief Greg Morrison who resigned in late 2005 was replaced by Bill Gardner and David Varley is now the city manager after Kelly Arnold announced in May he was moving on. After extensive searches in both instances the city decided to promote from within. Still one important administrative position, community development director remains open after Bob Blanchard suddenly called it quits last February. Replacing Blanchard is one of many decisions city officials will make as Grand Junction celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2007. Some of the major projects the city will be taking on in the coming year include the 7th Street beautification and big pipe storm water projects as well the completion of the first city owned parking structure in downtown.