FRUITA, Colo. (KREX) — The City of Fruita has been growing for years,”It’s a growing community because I feel like people really want to live in Fruita, they want to be in Fruita, actually they just love Fruita,” Shannon Vassen, Fruita Assistant City Manager.
The city may be growing, but like a majority of the state, and the Grand Valley as a whole, growth comes with growing pains, “Issues with housing affordability,” Vassen said.
The city is focused on improving housing costs but also housing diversity and the residents of Fruita are speaking out loud and clear, “Over 2-3,000 people participated and shared their vision for what Fruita should be as far as development in the future,” Vassen says, “Which really sets the guide lines for growth and development in the area for the next 10 years.”
Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, the city of Fruita is starting 2022 on the right path. “We have adopted our community plan, we’ve adopted our land use code,” Vassen says.
Now, Fruita is a prime candidate for housing developers, but there’s another challenge, “A lot of people that do work in Fruita commute,” Vassen said.
While close to 30% of Fruita residents work in the city, an overwhelming 70% commute to Grand Junction or other areas. “If you want to work and live here you should be afforded that opportunity and we are going to try our best to create and open those doors for others,” Henry Hemphill, Fruita City Planner says.
Fruita is wasting no time, it has close to 40 apartment units under construction and two subdivisions not far behind.
The city hopes by adding more diverse housing options, it will entice more Western Slope residents to both live and work in Fruita, “You know its a small town feel, we are growing but its still a small town, I think its going to be that way for a long time because people move here for the lifestyle,” Hemphill says.
One question the plan doesn’t answer is how to provide more jobs or business incentives for people looking to move here.