20 Years in the Making, Public Safety Training Facility to Break Ground
KREX News Room
MESA COUNTY, Colo. - After two decades of work, officials are finally moving forward on the Regional Public Safety Training Facility on the Western Slope.
On Monday, Mesa County commissioners approved phase one of the project's construction. Crews are set to break ground Tuesday or Wednesday.
"It's 20 years in the making," said Mesa County undersheriff Rebecca Spiess.
It also involved countless hours of cooperation between partners.
"This dream has only occurred because of a partnership between CMU, the city of Grand Junction and Mesa County, as well as the generosity of the Seizure Board," added Spiess.
"For future phases, they hope to have training buildings up there, school settings up there," said Greg Linza, parks manager for Mesa County, as well as the project's manager.
It's a training utopia for Colorado Mesa University's Post Academy, Mesa County Sheriff's Office and Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade police departments.
The project will also attract other municipalities since there are currently no training facilities of this kind between Denver and Salt Lake City.
"Taking officers off the street here to go train over there is just not feasible," said Spiess.
Law enforcement officials are especially looking forward to the plan's first phase: a drive track.
"The number two reason officers are killed in the line of duty here is because of traffic-related situations, after firearms. Driving is really important to us," explained Spiess.
"It'll really help to make sure that we're getting the training we need for law enforcement and our public safety partners," added Mesa County commissioner Rose Pugliese.
She and the other commissioners had no problem approving the $1.3 million dollar investment.
"There's some potential economic impacts as far as people staying over in hotels, eating food, etc. So, there could be a huge economic benefit that people aren't even thinking about," explained Pugliese.
The project's bid came in higher than originally anticipated, so each of the partners put in extra funds to make the dream a reality.
The Seizure Board contributed about $630,000, while a Department of Local Affairs Grant accounted for $400,000. Mesa County originally invested $165,000.
To make up for the additional costs, Mesa County and the city of Grand Junction each invested another $80,000. Colorado Mesa University owns the land and also contributed an extra $80,000.
"Its very exciting. From a law enforcement perspective, it's very historic today," said Spiess.
The deadline for phase one completion is near the end of June, 2013.