South Platte River Heritage Plan Advances (CO)

COLORADO, 10/01/02: Implementation of Adams County’s South Platte River Heritage Plan took a giant leap forward thanks to a recent purchase of 124 acres in the South Platte River Corridor.

The $1.95 million purchase located on 104th Ave. was identified in the South Platte River Heritage Plan as a high priority purchase and will provide recreational trails, fishing, and wildlife viewing when it is opened to the public.

“This purchase was funded by a number of agencies working together and demonstrates what cooperation can achieve,” said Chairman Ted Strickland, Adams County Board of Commissioners. “An important partner has been The Trust for Public Land (TPL), who negotiated the land sale. The next step in this process is to develop a plan for the area and open it to the public for their enjoyment.”

Adams County received a $600,000 lottery grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) for the purchase. The county also received $775,000 from Adams County Open Space sales tax funds. Urban Drainage and Flood Control District contributed $585,000 for preservation of the Grange Hall Creek and South Platte River floodplains.

“This project was made possible by the citizens passing the Open Space Sales Tax,” commented Commissioner Elaine Valente. “The sales tax allowed Adams County to meet GOCO’s requirements for matching grants. It also allowed the county to participate with Urban Drainage in preserving the two flood plains that converge on this land.”

Valente also serves as the county’s representative to the Urban Drainage and Flood Control Board and said this purchase has been a priority of Urban Drainage for years.

The property, boasting three lakes and cottonwood groves along the South Platte River and Grange Hall Creek, was purchased from Miriam Bromley.

“This property is adjacent to a 40-acre eagle conservation easement that Adams County owns to the north,” said Commissioner Marty Flaum. “Bald eagles are often seen feeding on the fish and prairie dogs on the Bromley property. We are really starting to see the fulfillment of the South Platte River Heritage Plan with this purchase.”

GOCO granted Adams County a $2 million Legacy Grant in 2000 for purchases of property and conservation easements in the South Platte River Corridor. The preservation of the 245-acre McIntosh Dairy was the first project funded by GOCO along the South Platte River. GOCO funded $1 million of the $3.1 million dairy preservation.

“Legacy Grants are given for projects of statewide importance,” said John Hereford, GOCO’s executive director. “Preservation of the South Platte River Corridor has been a goal of the communities all along the river and GOCO welcomes the opportunity to be a partner in Adams County’s efforts to implement the South Platte River Heritage Plan.”

TPL, a national land trust dedicated to preserving parks, open space and working landscapes also worked with Adams County on the passage of the Open Space Sales Tax in 1999. “The Trust is pleased to continue our partnership with Adams County by providing expertise in acquiring key South Platte properties the county has identified as being of high importance,” said Doug Robotham, Colorado director of TPL. “TPL’s project manager, Woody Beardsley, deserves a lot of credit for successfully negotiating permanent protection of both the Bromley tract and the McIntosh Dairy just to the north. Working with the landowners, Woody was able to secure substantial donations of property value that benefited Adams County and the public at large.”

“TPL’s expertise in negotiating owner donations of land value certainly adds to the appeal of the whole grant package that GOCO considers,” said Commissioner Valente. “We are pleased to have them as a partner.”

Adams County will soon start a planning process to determine where the trails will be located, what areas should be preserved as habitat, and how the fishing lakes will be reclaimed and developed.

“The site planning will determine the uses for this property,” said Commissioner Strickland. “The county will hold public meetings on how the property should be developed. Residents who would like to be involved in this process should notify the Parks Department.”

The number for the Adams County Parks Department is (303)637-8000.