New Zipline Opens in Grand Junction, Celebrating the Riverfront’s Transformative History
August 16, 2023 — Grand Junction, CO
The picturesque city of Grand Junction is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking breathtaking views and thrilling experiences. Now that adventure has reached new heights.
Riverfront Zip Adventures is the newest attraction at Las Colonias Park. The zipline has been a highly anticipated attraction as it connects Eagle Rim Park in Orchard Mesa to the Riverfront at Las Colonias Park. Adventure seekers will be suspended above the stunning western Colorado landscape and enjoy views of the Colorado National Monument, Bookcliffs, Mt. Garfield, and the Grand Mesa.
The feature was designed and developed locally by the business park’s anchor tenant, Bonsai Design, a world-class adventure course provider owned by Thaddeus and Sarah Shrader. The firm has over 15 years of experience in the Aerial Adventure Course Industry and has built over 65 installations serving over one million individual participant experiences to date.
This week, Bonsai Design and the City of Grand Junction hosted a ribbon cutting to recognize the new zip line, officially marking the attraction as open for business. “I feel lucky to be part of the efforts to make this an amazing place where people want to come and play and stay,” stated Thaddeus Shrader during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The opening of the zip line marks a critical point in the development’s history and will become an attraction enjoyed by generations to come.
The Transformation of Grand Junction’s Riverfront
The Riverfront at Las Colonias has become a gateway to Grand Junction’s thriving and vibrant community in the past few years. However, it hasn’t always been this way.
The area was formerly the location of a sugar beet factory until 1950 when it was converted into a vanadium and uranium mill. After the closure of the mill, the U.S. Department of Energy began cleaning up the site and transferred it to the City of Grand Junction. The city then completed the construction of the two-lane Riverside Parkway and developed the property into an attractive multi-use park that would become a popular community gathering spot.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Grand Junction’s Mayor, Anna Stout, recounted the riverfront’s history and her personal memories growing up when the location was used as a junkyard and rendering plant.
“Our riverfront, when I was a kid, was not what welcomed us into the city. It was what divided us from the city. And it was a very stark symbol of the separation of our community from Orchard Mesa to downtown and the city. Now it is an incredible asset. This is not just an incredible amenity for the city. It symbolizes our city coming together and having a vision for who we are.”
The cleanup and development of the Riverfront at Las Colonias has been a collaborative effort between public and private partners. It has been a project that’s pulled together government agencies from the federal, state, and local levels as well as non-profits, including One Riverfront, the Grand Junction Lion’s Club, Downtown Grand Junction, the Las Colonias Development Corporation, and the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.
“Simply put, Zip Adventures and the larger Las Colonias area have become a reality because of the partnership between agencies and organizations that saw the potential for what the riverfront could and should become and who believed in Grand Junction. It took significant collaboration between the public, private, and non-profit sectors,” stated Stout.
Additionally, Bonsai Design has been instrumental in developing the Riverfront at Las Colonias business park as they’ve worked closely with the City of Grand Junction, the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, and local economic development partners.
“We were allowed to, with the assistance of the city, design the entire Las Colonias Park with the agreement that we would stay here and act as masthead and really pull people down towards the river and work with GJEP to invite businesses to Grand Junction and bring their businesses and employees here and continue to grow this amazing economy that we’ve got going on in the valley now,” stated Shrader.
Discover the Riverfront at Las Colonias
Built alongside the Colorado River, this 140-acre mixed-use park has been transformed into a community asset and a shining example of the power of public and private partnerships.
In addition to the new zip line attraction, the park is home to a 5,000-seat amphitheater that has seen some of the biggest names in music, including Bob Dylan, Snoop Dog, Cody Johnson, and more. Beyond regular summer concerts, residents and visitors can enjoy community events, including stand-up paddle boarding and yoga in the park. Residents and visitors can also enjoy the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens and provisions from Edgewater Brewery.
The area also includes fifteen designated acres for a shovel-ready commercial business park and is located within an Opportunity Zone. Bonsai Design is the anchor tenant of the business park, and the Las Colonias area is also home to a new glamping resort known as Camp Eddy and The Eddy Apartments. The Las Colonias area has also seen new development with the Struthers Residences and incoming Sugar Beet Apartments.
The Riverfront at Las Colonias is where community converges and business meets adventure. It honors Grand Junction’s past and is a testament to its resilience and vision for the future. The property is open for new development, and our community looks forward to this site’s impact on future generations.
For more information on business development opportunities at the Riverfront at Las Colonias, please contact GJEP’s Business Development Manager, Matt Bell, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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