Arapahoe County in 2019 installed seven miles of new trails, saw 684 volunteers donate 5,266 hours, and planted 600 trees through the county’s Open Spaces program.
A new report comes as the county is about to update its decade-old master plan. The updates will focus the county’s priorities on land acquisition and “raising awareness of the value of the dedicated Open Space Sales & Use Tax,” among other goals.
The quarter-cent tax increase began in 2003 and was renewed in 2011. Half of the revenue is returned to cities and towns for projects, and more than one-quarter goes to open space acquisition.
“We’ve seen a 14% growth in the population of the County since 2010 and record use of local parks, trails and open spaces,” the county commissioners wrote in their introduction to the report. “With that comes growth-related stressors that need to be addressed, along with new opportunities to provide outdoor recreation and protect our valuable resources.”
Among the highlights cited from 2019, the Arapahoe County Fair drew 27,000 attendees, and the Fairgrounds and Event Center hosted 735 events with nearly 86,000 visitors. Arapahoe County Open Spaces owns the Fairgrounds and Event Center, along with 5,300 acres and 14 miles of trails.
It also manages 17 Mile House along the Arapahoe-Douglas County line. Last year, thanks to a $200,000 grant from History Colorado, the county renovated and structurally stabilized an 1870s-era red barn, which usually is open for tours and agricultural demonstrations (currently canceled due to the pandemic).
Access the report online at tinyurl.com/ac-openspaces.
This story is from Colorado Politics, a statewide political and public policy news journal. Used by permission. For more, visit coloradopolitics.com.
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