Thursday, March 20, 2008

Catching Up

Evan and I got back into Grand Junction on Monday afternoon. Between Boston and our return here we were in Pittsburgh for two days. Saw my mother, who recently went back after spending nearly a year with us here. I also got to see Leslie and her family, which was a welcome respite as well.

Unfortunately, one of those days with Leslie was spent at Children's Hospital. Her daughter Michaela became ill on Saturday, and was in need of platelets and red blood cells as a result of her recent chemotherapy. She also had some minor surgery on Monday to replace a portacath. Michaela is now back home and feeling a little better. I'll have some more about her progress as Leslie provides updates to myself and others online through a private CarePage.

There were a few things happening locally that I needed to catch up on and think out loud about, so I think I'll get right to it.

Mt. Garfield Truck Stop

This one just makes me almost shake my head and give up, to just say "Go ahead, build the thing".

But then I thought that this might just send the right message to ourselves as a community; a visual representation of the inherent symbiosis of developing the land in proximity to some of God's most awesome handiwork. A memorial to a vanishing vista and a way of life slowly slipping through our fingers, much as the Cadillac Ranch adorns what is left of Route 66 near Amarillo.

COGCC Appointees

Congratulations to Rich Alward on his appointment to the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Despite all of the histrionics from Josh Penry and other GOP lawmakers in lockstep with the energy lobby, the will of the people has been put forth.

As trite and disingenuous as this sounds in today's world, it looks as though we will have fair and balanced representation on the commission. For me, that's a good thing.
Anyone with doubts about that, look above at yet another example of a literal impact to our rural environment and way of life. This is from Monday, south of DeBeque. This is not the first time this has happened (not by a long shot) and considering the nature of the rural roads these trucks drive on every day, it won't be the last. With these kinds of things happening, I'm glad to have Rich Alward casting a wary and watchful eye on the energy industry, both locally and across the state.

The Free Press today printed excellent columns by Jim Spehar and Tim Pollard side by side, illustrating the very reason why the COGCC needs to have diverse representation such as Mr. Alward will help to provide. Thanks for serving us, Rich, and best of luck to you.

Whitman Park

City Council's awarding of an additional contract to the Public Safety Building architect to study ways to integrate the park into the building design is a good idea, even if it may come up with ideas that are unwieldy, considering the fixed obstacles that are present and likely cannot be dealt with inexpensively.

Gregg Palmer was right on two counts; that the four lanes of Fifth Street may prove to be a daunting and costly challenge to this conceptual integration, and that design alone may not resolve the 'problems' associated with Whitman Park.

When I think about a building reaching out over a major roadway, I think of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. This view is the north side of the building, part of which cantilevers over Fort Duquesne Boulevard below.

While this is on an obviously grander scale, the same concept could be an illustration of an option on how to aesthetically 'connect' the building over the street to the park.

A lot of this conceptualization is designed to try and correct what is perceived by many in our community as a takeover of Whitman Park by Grand Junction's transient community.

If the Sentinel's article is any indication, a good portion of these transients are camping along the river, and walking into town during the day. They can take a shower, have a cup of coffee, read the paper, do their laundry, and even check their mail at the Outreach Day Center. A hot meal is available just down the street at the Soup Kitchen. Other meals and a bed are available at the Rescue Mission. The proximity of the Greyhound Bus station to the park also adds to its' population, especially during the day.

Whitman Park is a hub of green space for this segment of our society, and the various services they utilize. Our hospitable climate makes it an attractive way station for the homeless in our area. These services and the park are proximal to locations favored by transients for camping.

The initiative to gradually move shelter, treatment, and employment services to the North Avenue corridor served only to create a transient community in two locations instead of just one, and brought the spectre of panhandlers, Chronic Public Inebriates, and other problems to the main commercial corridor as well as the city center. This all served to provide another 'proof' of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

One commenter on the Sentinel's site listed a very good reason why the park is currently unattractive for family use. This may change somewhat once the Riverside Parkway is open, and a lot of that traffic headed south will no longer need to go through the heart of the city. We'll see how long it takes for population growth and downtown redevelopment to bring with them another example of the above law in action.

I think I'm caught up for now. Have a good rest of your week.


JimDavis said...


I think you might be overlooking something. There are also a lot of Mentally Ill in the homeless population as a result of huge cuts in the Human Services Industry in the past. Our wonderful State government is at it again. Cutting funding and downgrading tiers in MI and DD populations in the State. This should help to increase the population of homeless to even new heights as providers will not accept cuts in funding of over 30%. Where will the adults at risk go? I am thinking the park :)

John Linko said...


You are absolutely right, and while this may have been an oversight on my original post, I am well aware of the struggles that Colorado West Mental Health has gone through to stay relevant to their mission since building their new facility on North Avenue.

This has a double whammy effect on us here, as this same organization is responsible not only for most mental health treatment services in our area, but baseline alcohol detox services as well.

With declining reimbursement rates, a seeming revolving door of employees (judging from how many job postings I see for them), and the financial difficulties inherent from the above, I believe your assessment of the future has a lot of credence to it.

Thanks for your thoughts.