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art for trails and greenways

Roessler Memorial Takes Wing on Blue Heron Trail

Art enhances western greenways: "In Loving Memory of Grand Junction Pioneers."

Map of Colorado

Craig Roberts of Caivonne and Associates has seen through his share of landscape design projects required by school district and subdivision contractors. Nonetheless, it was no small challenge when he was asked to design the Roessler Memorial now gracing the Blue Heron section of the Colorado River Trail.

Several factors were taken into account on the project, funded by a grant from Frank and Josephine Prinster to memorialize her parents&emdash;Grand Valley pioneers Joseph W. and Antonia C. Roessler. The Prinsters wanted something unique that would provide a shady spot along the river to allow people to rest and enjoy the views, and an avian concept captured Roberts' imagination.

"While trying to keep the structure light feeling and fitting with its natural surrounding, considerations for wind, maintenance, durability, vandal resistance, and budget had to be addressed," Roberts wrote to a recent design competition. "We settled on a flock of geese, since their group behavior would allow us to cluster a few of them together and interlock their wings to provide the area of shade we needed."

In pursuing the geese, Roberts' design required a structure physically able to withstand these many pressures. That's where Lee Lindauer, a Grand Junction structural engineer, cam in. He offered general ideas on how to proceed, making sure the steel structure was sized accurately and was thick and stiff enough at crucial points so it wouldn't vibrate, fall or blow over the foundation. Noting that he doesn't "do too many birds," Lindauer donated his time and expertise to make sure the project was carried out properly.

He was assisted by a fabricator, Terry Lafferty Welding, and Reyes Construction. Carlson Memorials finished the effect with sandstone benches that offer resting walkers a view down the river with the Colorado National Monument as a backdrop. The result is a shelter that provides shade at midday as well as in the afternoon during the summer months, with winter sun warming visitors the entire day. A fitting tribute to the Grand Junction pioneers!

For more information, contact Craig Roberts at Ciavonne and Associates, Inc., 844 Grand Ave, Grand Junction CO 81501; (970) 241-0745; Fax (970) 241-0765.

Colorado History Groups Work With Greenway Advocates

Grand Junction's Colorado River Trail continues to grow and make new connections. This summer a new major trail bridge was opened to connect the Orchard Mesa neighborhoods across the Colorado River to the greenway trail system. The $918,000 bridge project was funded through ISTEA with assistance from a State Trails Program grant and other local funds.

A work of art celebrating the heritage of the west is also proposed for this part of the Colorado River greenway. The bridge will be the site of a massive bronze monument called "the Spirit of Pioneer Women," in memory of the strength, character, and contributions of the women who helped settle the area. The Mount Garfield Chlapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is spearheading the fundraising effort along with numerous local organizations.

The seven-foot bronze figure will rise from a five-foot pedestal at the bridge site, which overlooks the river and the trail system. It is also near the river crossing of the historic Old Spanish Trail. Members of the OST coalition have been working to identify the trail route and historic sites along its route across western Colorado.

For more information on the pioneer memorial, contact Katherine Nelson (970) 241-8143. For information on the Old Spanish Trail, contact Ron Kessler, P O Box 521, Monte Vista, CO 81144; (719) 852-5225.

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