RTA purchases land near Safeway for future Gunnison hub

Price induces feelings of nausea and squirming but it isn’t getting cheaper

By Mark Reaman

The Gunnison Valley Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) board of directors agreed at their June 28 meeting to spend $800,000 plus closing costs on a vacant lot along Highway 50 near the Safeway grocery store. The land is intended to be used as a central Gunnison bus stop that can be the primary location for the RTA and Bustang buses as well as a site for some RTA office space.

The Gunnison city council members on the RTA board, mayor Diego Plata and Matt Schwartz, recused themselves from the discussion. 

RTA executive director Scott Truex said he has been communicating with Gunnison city staff about the site, and plans are to come in front of the city council this month. He said there hasn’t been much staff pushback about locating some office space on the site.

“I definitely had some squirming with the original $750,000 price so when it went up to $800,000 it was rough,” said RTA board chair Janet Farmer. “But it is in the perfect location. It is a lot of money, but I think it will pay off in the long run for the RTA with the services we can provide.”

“It checks all the important boxes, especially with location,” agreed RTA board member Laura Puckett Daniels. “I was also compelled by the demographic information coming in from the planning consultant showing how there are more people living in south Gunnison using the bus. That is where the population is growing in Gunnison versus near the Rec Center. This is a better location in that regard. In conjunction with possible future services for Gunnison this would be central to the city. The price tag gives me a little nausea. It is a lot of money for an undeveloped lot in Gunnison.”

“I can’t imagine it will get cheaper,” said RTA board member Ian Billick. “I support moving ahead with the purchase.

RTA executive director Scott Truex said he will be talking to the city council at its July 9 meeting. Ideally, he would like to see the site hold an enhanced bus stop similar to the one at the Crested Butte Four-way Stop, some office space for drivers, dispatch personnel and RTA administration, and be a place where RTA and Bustang buses can stop in Gunnison.

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