Four Newcomers Share Experiences of Moving to Grand Junction and Working for the City

In Grand Junction, we’re on the move and growing, both in population and, not surprisingly, in new jobs at the City of Grand Junction to serve our growing population. If you’re seeking a new and exciting challenge or looking to relocate, consider Grand Junction and a career with the City. We interviewed four newcomers who happily shared what they learned about moving to Grand Junction and working for the City. They even shared some helpful tips to assist others who are contemplating relocating to the Grand Junction area.

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The employees that generously shared their advice, time and experiences are: 

  • Jonathan Wheatley, Recreation Supervisor (JW)
  • Dani Acosta, Associate Planner (DA)
  • Bryan Bear, IT Support Specialist (BB)
  • Brandon Kerth, IT Support Specialist (BK)

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We asked questions about moving to Grand Junction, from the practical to the enjoyable. While they share some common views like their love for Grand Junction’s plethora of outdoor recreation, they also have unique insights and experiences.


Why did you relocate to Grand Junction? 

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“We were looking for a change in scenery and my better half was offered a position with the City of Grand Junction. We researched the area and felt like it would be a good fit for our family. So, we sold our house and took the leap. It’s been a great experience and the views here are like no other; we feel lucky to have found Grand Junction.” – JW

“I had visited three times while I was in graduate school and absolutely fell in love with it. Although I was living on the East Coast, I became very interested in the Grand Junction area from both a growth management and economic development standpoint. When the opportunity came along to apply for the Community Development Department, I couldn't pass it up! Grand Junction has a thoughtful and strategic plan for growth, and that really impressed me.” – DA

“I decided to move here because my father had decided to retire down here. Also, I have a lot of extended family living here as well. I love that it feels like a little-big city – it has all the amenities of a larger city, but without the crowds, traffic, and expense. The western hospitality authentically exists in Grand Junction.” – BB

“After 11 years living and working in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, I wanted both a change of pace and a change of scenery. As it turns out, my best friend was already out here doing work for the Colorado Conservation Corps, which made the decision to move out here much simpler. The Grand Junction area is over 76 percent public land, so there are thousands of trails and no crowds; I really love that.” – BK


What is your favorite part about living in Grand Junction?

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“I love the mountain views, the accessibility to so many outdoor recreation activities – parks, hiking, skiing, hiking, fishing, etc. But, I think most of all I love the true small-town feel with big-city conveniences: the beautiful Downtown with top-notch restaurants and entertainment along with the familiar national chains and stores with hardly any traffic make for a pleasant place to call home.” – JW

“I live 10 minutes from a National Park and 5 minutes from BLM land. Living near 1.5 million acres of public land is definitely my favorite part.” ¬– DA

“So far, my favorite part about living in Grand Junction has been the mild winters and the good variety of restaurants in the area.” – BB

“It’s hard to pick a favorite. I love that the worst traffic I’ve ever experienced here is better than the best commute in North Texas. And if I’m being honest, there are no traffic issues. I very much enjoy the and local feeling of things. It’s also a huge plus to get to experience all four seasons for the first time in a long time.” – BK


What’s your favorite part of working for the City of Grand Junction?

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“I love serving the community and being able to enrich lives through recreation, but you can't beat the comradery and friendly personalities. Everyone has been extremely welcoming. You can really tell that the City is supportive of its employees, which makes for a better work experience and directly benefits this wonderful community.” – JW

“The culture is so welcoming. In the very first week a lot of people already knew my name. The City has also made a lot of investment in employee health with a very extensive Wellness Program that we have available, which really demonstrates the City’s dedication to its workforce.”  – DA

“There is structure, excellent training, comfortable pacing, and overall good people to work with.”  – BB

“The support. Having worked for private organizations, another city, and service providers with Department of Defense contracts, I’ve never had as much support as I’ve had here. The staff is kind, thoughtful, and more tech savvy than they give themselves credit for.” – BK 


What’s your favorite spot to hang out on the weekends?

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“(It) seems like every weekend we end up either at Canyon View Park's amazing playground with the kids, exploring nature (Colorado National Monument, Grand Mesa), or walking around Downtown Grand Junction.”  – JW

“Canyon View Park. I like to go walking there on the weekends and watch the sun rise or set.” – DA

Downtown during the summer is a good time when events and live music are going on.” – BB

“Lately it’s been Two Rivers Tavern or Ramblebine Brewery for the live music. I haven’t otherwise ended up with a favorite, though Copeka Coffee’s another great one for ambiance with a retro chic flair.” – BK 


How did you find housing in Grand Junction?

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“This was really a struggle at first, finding housing while being over 2,000 miles away, but then we found a wonderful realtor who was able to be our feet on the ground pre-touring houses, recommending neighborhoods, and contacting property owners. They were able to find us a great rental property in a beautiful neighborhood. I really think we lucked out finding and securing housing as quickly as we did, considering we were out of town.” – JW

“Through word of mouth. My current home I was able to find from one of my coworkers who was looking for somebody to take over their lease. City employees regularly share housing leads with coworkers like me who are searching.” – DA

“I’m currently living with my father in the house he purchased to retire in.” – BB

“Through a combination of luck, sharing a hotel room for about a month, and canvassing all the local realtor sites as well as amalgamation sites such as Zillow.” – BK 


What is different about GJ compared to where you moved from?

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“Coming from Florida and arriving at the start of winter, the weather is an ongoing adjustment but, Grand Junction doesn’t have nearly the extreme winters that the rest of Colorado experiences. The lack of traffic, amazing views, and friendly people have made it all worth it.”  – JW

“I am originally from the Greater Washington DC Area, so traffic levels are very different. My commute is only eight minutes now!” – DA

“I moved from Rock Springs, Wyoming to Grand Junction. Overall, I’m a lot happier living down here because of the wide variety of activities in the area.” – BB

“The pace of everything is vastly different. In North Texas, it was a 45-minute minimum to really go anywhere or do anything. Even if it wasn’t too far away, there were just so many people. Having not been on a road wider than two lanes in about a year has been a shock. Now it’s more like 10 to 20 minutes in any direction to get somewhere with amazing views.” – BK 


Can you share tips for others considering moving to Grand Junction?

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“Really research housing beforehand, and if you can, buy. The area has so many wonderful amenities and is drawing a lot of people due to the high quality of life, but it makes housing a bit of a challenge at first.” – DA

“If you’re thinking about moving here, call the landlords if you’re planning on renting. Houses are available, but they get rented quickly when they’re on the market. So, plan to sign quickly if you see something you like.” – BB

“It’s best to visit the realty and rental sites at their office in person, if possible. Navigating all the websites can be overwhelming.” – BK 


Find out about current job openings at the City of Grand Junction