Prescott, AZ, Parkland Protected

March 13, 2001
Arizona

PRESCOTT, AZ, 3/13/01--The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit land conservation organization, has purchased and transferred to the city of Prescott three parcels totaling approximately 57 acres for permanent preservation as open space and parkland for the enjoyment of Prescott residents and visitors. These transactions represent the city's first open space acquisitions using funds from a 1 percent sales tax extension approved by voters in May 2000.

Two of the three parcels comprise 32 acres at the peak of a prominent ridge east of Thumb Butte and are visible from nearly every downtown Prescott vantage point. This property adjoins and expands the city's open space holdings in the Thumb Butte area.

The third parcel, 25 acres which the city refers to as Granite Dells Preserve East, is located approximately five miles northeast of downtown Prescott, north of Watson Lake. Portions of the property are visible from Highway 89. It contains streams and spectacular canyons and granite formations.

"TPL is to be commended for doing such an efficient job acquiring Prescott's first three high priority open space properties," said Prescott Mayor Sam Steiger. "I am pleased that these important lands are now permanently protected for the benefit of the community."

"After the work that went into the city's open space plan, which was approved in November 1999, it was exciting to see the plan's implementation start to occur so quickly," said Eric Smith, the city's open space and trails coordinator.

"TPL's expertise in completing public acquisitions of open space from willing landowners has greatly helped our community reach its first open space protection goal," commented Rebecca Ruffner, president of the Central Arizona Land Trust. "Having these critical acquisitions accomplished will help us focus on the work ahead to protect properties such as the Yavapai strip, the Dalke property, and the remaining projects on the list of priority lands. We also want to acknowledge Mayor Steiger and the city council for their leadership in this unique effort."

In March 2000, the city of Prescott conducted public meetings and asked TPL to help pass the 1% sales tax extension to fund acquisition of eleven key geographical areas of land identified in the city's open space plan as high priority for protection. TPL, in partnership with the Central Arizona Land Trust and other local conservation leaders, polled voters and directed a campaign that led to the passage of the sales tax extension in May 2000. The sales tax extension is projected to generate $75 million, $40.7 million of which will be used for open space preservation projects. The remainder of the funds will be used for road improvements.

After the measure was approved, the city asked TPL to secure the three highest priority properties-all of which were threatened with imminent development. TPL negotiated agreements to purchase the properties from three separate landowners and completed the transactions when funds from the sales tax increase became available to the city.

"We look forward to our continued partnership with the city of Prescott and the Central Arizona Land Trust as we work to protect more of Prescott's outstanding landscapes," said TPL project manager Eric Love.

Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment. In Colorado, TPL has helped to protect more than 55,000 acres of land. Working with private landowners, community groups and public agencies, TPL has successfully completed 22 transactions in Arizona. The Wall Street Journal's Smart Money magazine recently named TPL the nation's most efficient large conservation charity, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs. For more information go to www.tpl.org.