MAR members learn 2017 plans for City of Montrose
General Membership Meeting hosts speakers from city and rec center
by Kathryn R. Burke
[October 20, 2016. The Bridges Golf & Country Club] The Montrose Association of REALTORS® General Membership Meeting was held at the Bridges, October 20th. Guest speakers from the City and the City Recreation District talked about what to expect in the near future and more comprehensive long-term plans.
City of Montrose
City Manager, Bill Bell, shared the results of the recent mail-in survey sent to Montrose residents, and discussed how it related to our industry. Eighty percent of the survey respondents said they like it here and would recommend Montrose as a good place to live.
Some of the information Bell shared came as a welcome surprise. Rating the strength of our economy, Montrose is number 2 behind Durango in western Colorado! “We have been experiencing so much economic growth, it is hard to find enough employees,” he said. Montrose has a strong retail base and it’s growing. Less empty spaces, more new businesses. Sales tax revenue shows double-digit growth over the last three years. Technology jobs are increasing and taking on a whole new look—witness Proximity Space, so successful that other communities are trying to copy what we already have in place.
Yes, Sports Authority and Hastings closed, but not because of our local economy. Both entities made expensive marketing commitments they couldn’t keep and wound up closing their doors—everywhere, not just here. Yes, Durango is number 1, but they are landlocked and have a more polarized economy—from high-end to low-end without much in the middle. The big surprise is that Grand Junction has the worst economy in the state, partly because of an historical boom-and-bust economy, and also because of so much government competition.
So what does all this mean for Montrose? Steady growth for one. Construction is up and property values are starting to climb again. We have excellent government partnerships and shared service agreements that are enabling us to thrive and grow. We have the land for physical expansion, unlike Durango. Montrose City and County have a diverse economy. Sure, some folks have to work two jobs to feed their families, but those two jobs are here and more are coming.
Survey complaints were also discussed, including the #1 issue: dissatisfaction with traffic congestion, and #2 issue: street maintenance, because many are badly in need of repair. Bell talked about some of the solutions in progress and planned for the future. The roundabout at Sunnyside and Hillcrest is the first of several. Plans call for making 6700 Road a bigger, better bypass, and when the railroad comes to an agreement with the city, creating a downtown bypass on Rio Grande. Oak Street is the new Montrose street model
A lively discussion followed Bell’s presentation. As a result of questions asked, we learned that there is a mixed-use Riverway Market Plan which will bring a lot of jobs to the community. (Sunday’s Montrose Press had an interesting article about one of those plans. There are others as well.) The City has partnered with Colorado Mesa University (CMU) in building a larger, more diverse campus, which will include student housing—not dorms but apartments or condos that can be converted into or sold as residential housing. Good news for Realtors.
Learn more about the city’s survey and city plans here.
Office of Business and Tourism
Following Mr. Bell’s presentation, Assistant City Manager and Director of the Office of Business and Tourism (OBT), Rob Joseph, discussed future plans to increase both in our area. He said, “signage will adopt an Alpine look” (apparently drawing attention to neighboring boutique mountain communities that have a big draw). The City plans to encourage more winter visitors and utilize destination marketing as the new OBT business model. Another goal is to become a community marketing organization rather than a visitors and convention bureau. This will market and involve the entire community, incorporating innovative marketing material, which will include a 2017 Relocation Guide. “Stay here and play everywhere” is the new marketing logo.
Montrose Community Recreation Center
Following presentations by the City, Barbara Bynum and Jason Ullman, board members of the Montrose Recreation District, gave us an overview of the new Community Recreation Center (CRC). Scheduled to open in January, it will be the largest recreation center in western Colorado.
The CRC is designed to appeal to all ages, fitness interests, and skill levels. For water enthusiasts, enjoy a pool with a beach and water playground, a lap pool with 11 lanes and 3 diving boards, and a drop slide. A hot-water wellness pool features hydrotherapy jets. Want to work out, get in shape, and stay that way? The 5,000 sq. ft. fitness/weight center includes an indoor walking track, and will offer over 40 fitness and water aerobic classes a week. Need something more strenuous? A 27 ft. outdoor climbing wall mimics the Painted Wall of the Black Canyon. Plenty of sports opportunities, including basketball, racquetball, volleyball and even pickle ball, will be available. The center also has party rooms, and will provide child care. Mountain View Therapy has leased space in the building, so prescriptive physical therapy services will also be available on the premises.
Bynum talked about the CRC funding, and how the project stayed on budget, yet they were able to create an attractive space that incorporates much of the areas’ geology and history. Local photographers, craftsmen, and artisans helped provide the attractive decor. Ullman talked about the engineering and technical construction details. He passed out a brochure with costs and amenities, and noted that the City Recreation District is the largest employer of teenagers in the community.
The CRC plans community events like Family Fun Night and After School Programs. Businesses and corporations will be able to purchase memberships: the company is a corporate wellness partner and the employees may have discounted memberships. Bynum discussed membership and Day Pass pricing, and their goal to make CRC use affordable for everyone. Scholarships will be available for children and adults needing help purchasing memberships.
To learn more about the CRC and follow its progress, visit