Durango Telegraph - City looks at open space options: Dalla Mountain Park dedication set for July 13
City looks at open space options: Dalla Mountain Park dedication set for July 13

After a little more than a year of collecting a half-cent sales tax for open space, parks and trails, the City of Durango will be sitting down to look at options for spending the money.

On July 11, the City’s Open Space Advisory Board will be meeting with the Durango City Council in a study session to better identify how the new funds will be spent.

“It’s about the big picture of programs and how all of it will shake out,” said Kevin Hall, the city’s Parks, Open Space and Trails (or POST) manager.

In July 2005, the City of Durango raised sales tax a half cent in response to a voter-approved ballot measure. Half of the proceeds from the tax go toward open space, parks and trails while the other half goes toward a new library and other capital improvements. The POST Advisory Board also was created last year in order to oversee how the estimated $2.5 million to $3 million collected annually will be spent. The board is a citizens committee made up of a member from the Open Space Advisory Board, Parks and Forestry Board, and Recreation Board as well as two at-large members.

As far as upcoming projects, Hall said the best gauge for

what is on the horizon will likely come from the City Council’s July 28 meeting, during which they will discuss the budget for 2007.

In addition to the open space study session next week, the city also will be celebrating a recent major open space acquisition. On July 13 at 5:30 p.m., there will be a dedication ceremony for the Dalla Mountain Park, the entrance to which is located on Junction Creek Road (25th Street) two miles west of Main Avenue, on the southern flanks of Animas Mountain. The city purchased the 177 acres late last year using $1.3 million in tax-payer funds and a $3 million Great Outdoors Colorado grant.

“The executive director of GoCo will be there to cut cake, and then we’ll go for a hike,” said Hall.

The city is working on a trailhead for the park and recently completed a bio-assessment for trail refinements. Other immediate orders of business in the park include weed management, fire mitigation and erosion control.

“Any new trails or trail improvements will be later this year or next year,” Hall said.

– Missy Votel