Helping to pay for new soccer fields near school
By Mark Reaman
Representatives of the Gunnison Valley Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) will be meeting with the Gunnison city council in April to start the process of leasing a piece of land for a transit center. The RTA is hoping to lease a parcel near the Gunnison Recreation Center, and is already working on grant funding from the state and federal governments to help pay for the construction.
The RTA wants to build the transit center on a piece of land currently used as a small U-9 soccer field. The proposal calls for the RTA to pay the city of Gunnison $250,000 for a 50-year lease. That money would then be used to help build another soccer field for the youngsters near the community school.
“We have had a conversation with school district superintendent Leslie Nichols and we talked about the RTA contributing money to soccer fields over by the school near the library,” RTA executive director Scott Truex told the RTA board at the March 24 meeting. “So there are potential options by the school. The fields could be used by students during school hours and the general public after that. That would allow the transit center to deal with the location and parking needs by the Rec Center.”
Truex said the transit facility would cost approximately $4 million, including the $250,000 for the property lease. The hope is to obtain $2.5 million through federal sources, on top of the $1 million already committed to the project by the state. The rest would come from the RTA budget. Truex said design work would start once an agreement to lease the property is completed with the city. “That way if we get the grant funds, we will be ready to move forward with a shovel-ready project,” he said.
The transit center would be the primary transit hub in Gunnison and be located near the Western Colorado University campus. It would include a dispatch, passenger waiting area, office space, a driver’s area and of course, bathrooms.
If everything proceeds perfectly, the transit center could potentially start construction in the fall of 2024.