Property Acquired for Rio Grande Healthy Living Park

July 15, 2014

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition (SLVLFC) are pleased to announce the acquisition of the 38-acre Polston School property in Alamosa, Colorado as the site of the Rio Grande Healthy Living Park. "This acquisition restores the community process for the creation of an agricultural-themed Healthy Living Park on the Polston land, which we have been working on since 2010," said Liza Marron, Executive Director of SLVLFC.

"After a four year effort we finally have a real opportunity to make the Rio Grande Healthy Living Park a reality," said Tim Wohlgenant, The Trust for Public Land's Colorado State Director. "If we all pull together, I am sure that we can secure the funding needed to make this a permanent asset for the people of Alamosa and the San Luis Valley."

After local fundraising delivered $375,000 in only four months, private local lenders added a bridge loan of $700,000 to enable The Trust for Public Land to purchase the land from a developer at the independently appraised fair market value. In addition to covering the costs of purchasing the property, the funds will go toward the initial management and development of the new Rio Grande Healthy Living Park. Fundraising to pay back the loan and develop the park is already underway.

The long-term vision for the Rio Grande Healthy Living Park is to preserve the rich agricultural heritage of the San Luis Valley's Rio Grande corridor for future generations to experience and enjoy. The new park will preserve the existing public trails along the Rio Grande, promoting pedestrian access to the river, Cole Park and downtown Alamosa. Future plans feature a working farm where people can grow food for themselves and for sale to the community, a winter farmers market, botanical gardens, a commercial kitchen, live event stage, and walking trails connecting the east and west banks of the Rio Grande. A public planning process will ensure that the park addresses the needs of community.

"It's been a long, hard road, but the incredible support of so many in this community has kept us going strong. We are really looking forward to resuming the community effort to bring this exciting project to fruition!", said Renee Mackey, a leader in this effort to keep the land in open space and accessible to the public.