LM Beneficial Reuse Asset Manager Diana Kamenel Trettin (center) accepts the 2023 Phoenix Award from Phoenix Awards Institute members Lloyd Kirk (left), and Linda Garczynski.
LM Beneficial Reuse Asset Manager Diana Kamenel Trettin (center) accepts the 2023 Phoenix Award from Phoenix Awards Institute members Lloyd Kirk (left), and Linda Garczynski.

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management Beneficial Reuse Asset Manager Diana  Kamenel Trettin accepted a 2023 Phoenix Award on LM’s behalf at an Aug. 9, in-person ceremony at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Brownfields Training Conference in Detroit. 

The EPA gives Phoenix Awards to outstanding public, private, and nonprofit projects and professionals to recognize the progression of brownfields redevelopment over the past 20 years — brownfields redevelopment is restoring, renovating, revitalizing, and reusing contaminated-property. 

Phoenix Awards include 10 EPA regional awards and one grand prize award. LM received the EPA Region 8 Phoenix Award for its work on Las Colonias Park, formerly the Grand Junction, Colorado, Processing Site.

“It is such an honor for DOE to receive the Region 8 Phoenix Award,” Kamenel Trettin said. “Las Colonias looked a lot different years ago. The beauty that Las Colonias Park has to offer will allow multiple generations to make memories for years to come.”

The former Grand Junction processing site was the location of a sugar beet factory until 1950, when the Climax Uranium Company converted it into a vanadium and uranium mill. The mill crushed and processed uranium ore into uranium oxide and sold it to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission during the Cold War. Once the mill closed in 1970, DOE began cleaning up the site under the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978. Site cleanup began in the mid-1980s and finished in 1998.

After cleanup, the site transferred to the city of Grand Junction. The city completed construction of the two-lane Riverside Parkway and developed the mill-site property into a municipal park. They renamed the park Las Colonias to pay homage to the Latino communities that lived in the mill-site area.

Site redevelopment enhances the banks of the Colorado River; provides a dedicated open space and natural areas, recreational and community opportunities, and a unique outdoor events venue; and celebrates site history and legacy. Las Colonias features a dog park, hiking and biking trails, a business park, a 5,000-seat amphitheater, an outdoor festival area, a boat ramp for river access, and a zip line.

“What has taken place at Las Colonias Park was made possible because of great partnerships and efforts by folks from Colorado Public Health and Environment, the State of Colorado, the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, the City of Grand Junction, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Mesa University, and many others,” Kamenel Trettin said.

The city continued developing Las Colonias, opening a river park in spring 2020. The river park recontoured the land, providing a natural braided river with water moving through it that improves the river corridor's health and enhances the endangered-fish recovery program. Park redevelopment restored 14 acres of riparian area that improved the natural plant habitat and ecology in and next to the river.

“I want to say ‘thank you’ to the EPA and the National Brownfields Training Conference for honoring DOE with this recognition,” Kamenel Trettin added.