Fruita is growing and officials aim to keep the vibe of a small town

FRUITA, Colo. (KREX) – The town 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, in fact they love Fruita “, Shannon Vassen, Deputy City Manager of Fruita.

The city may be growing, but like much of the state and the Grand Valley as a whole, with growth comes growing pains, “housing affordability issues,” Vassen said.

The city is focused on improving housing costs, but also housing diversity, and the people of Fruita are speaking out loud and clear: “Over 2-3,000 people attended and shared their vision of what Fruita should be regarding development in the future”, Vassen said, “This really sets the guidelines for the growth and development of the region for the next 10 years.”

Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, the City of Fruita is starting 2022 on the right track. “We passed our community plan, we passed our land use planning code,” Vassen says.

Now Fruita is a prime candidate for property developers, but there’s another challenge: “A lot of people who work at Fruita are commuting,” Vassen said.

While nearly 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 have this opportunity and we will do our best to create and open these doors for others,” said Henry Hemphill, Fruita City Planner.

Fruita wastes no time, it has nearly 40 homes under construction and two housing estates not far behind.

The city hopes that by adding more diverse housing options, it will attract more West Slope residents to live and work in Fruita, “You know, it’s a small town, we’re growing but it’s still a small city, I think it’s going to be that way for a long time because people are moving 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 settle here.

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