Riverfront property to be city’s for $1.2M

Fishing, river access, wildlife preservation is planned for land

The City Council on Tuesday approved the $1.2 million purchase of a 43-acre riverfront property located a mile north of 32nd Street and just east of Animas View Drive.

The city wants to preserve the property as a wildlife habitat and give riverfront access to anglers and non-motorized boats. Currently, there’s no public access to the Animas River north of 33rd Street.

The acquisition also will allow the city to extend the Animas River Trail by a 1.3 mile to the north.

The sale is expected to close July 31.

The property is known as the Cameron-Sterk property after owners Autumn Cameron and George Sterk, who are longtime Durango residents. The couple will be honored with a memorial bench on the property.

The purchase is fulfillment of a longtime goal recommended by both the city’s Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board and the new Animas River Corridor Management Plan.

For the acquisition, the city is using $825,000 from its Trails and Open Space Fund, which is funded by a half-cent sales tax, and a $400,000 grant from the state’s Great Outdoors Colorado trust fund.

Additional fees amounting to $23,000, including an appraisal, a conservation easement, an environmental assessment and title searches, were added to the total cost, but they were still covered by the city’s $400,000 grant.

Care of the property will be limited to removing invasive species, trash cleanups, ranger patrols and routine maintenance. Upkeep of open space cost the city $37 an acre in 2011.

jhaug@durangoherald.com

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