The town of Silverthorne and Summit County recently partnered on the purchase of two parcels in the South Forty Subdivision in Summit County, near North Pond Park and Silverthorne Elementary School.
The purchase was initiated earlier this summer by the Ray Family of Silverthorne. Silverthorne officials then approached Summit County about the opportunity to partner on a 50/50 open space purchase, which was completed last month for $190,000.
“We are thrilled to be able to partner with Silverthorne on this joint purchase and to protect the riparian habitat and high-quality wetlands on these properties,” said Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier in a news release.
The Ray property consists of two parcels, the first is a 9-acre site located adjacent to the Silverthorne Elementary School, which includes 7 acres of high-quality wetlands and 2 acres described as an “upper bench,” overlooking the wetlands.
The second parcel is a 1-acre property on the east side of Hamilton Creek Road and also encompasses significant wetlands. All of the wetland portions of the parcels will be preserved as open space, the release stated.
The upper bench adjacent to the elementary school will be preserved for future public uses. Although there are no specific plans in place, town of Silverthorne officials have contemplated constructing a trailhead, a Blue River Trail segment, workforce housing, or a childcare facility.
“Protecting the wetlands with an open space designation is great for the community and it was a logical partnership opportunity with the county, so we felt it was a prudent purchase,” said town of Silverthorne Mayor Dave Koop in the release. “The property is adjacent to other parcels of town-owned open space, and all of these together really complement the amenities in the area such as North Pond Park.”
The Summit County Open Space Advisory Committee reviewed the opportunity in June and recommended the joint purchase to the Board of County Commissioners. The Board of County Commissioners approved the purchase last month during a regularly scheduled meeting.
Silverthorne’s Parks Open Space, Recreation and Trails Committee reviewed the Open Space opportunity in July. The Silverthorne Town Council also approved the purchase during its most recent meeting Aug. 28.
The purchase will assist the town of Silverthorne in furthering the goals of the community’s Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan, and will add to the county’s growing list of open space acquisitions, the release stated.
The Summit County Open Space Program is funded by a property tax approved by voters in four elections, most recently in 2008, the release stated. The 12-year funding mechanism provides approximately $1.2 million per year for open space property acquisition.
Established in 1996, the Open Space Program has protected more than 14,500 acres of land in Summit County through a combination of purchases, donations and conservation easements, according to the release.
Capital projects in Silverthorne, including the town’s parks, open space, recreation and trails projects, are funded by a 1992 voter-approved capital improvement pledge of 60 percent of the town’s 2 percent sales tax. Capital infrastructure funding is supplemented by a 1998 voter-approved 2 percent lodging tax, which specifically dedicates 85 percent of lodging tax revenue to parks, trails, recreation and open space projects.
For more information about Summit County’s Open Space and Trails program, visit the county web site at www.co.summit.co.us or call Summit County Open Space and Trails director Brian Lorch at 668-4067.
For more information about Silverthorne’s Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan, visit www.silverthorne.org or call the Recreation and Culture Department at 262- 7393.