Marc Katz has given La Plata County residents an extraordinary opportunity to help shape the future of a sizeable acreage on Durango’s south east side.
Katz has done what governments should do but almost never can. He has acquired an 1,850-acre tract adjacent to Durango’s city limits, 800 acres of which he is offering to turn into public use with an expectation of creating a multi-event recreational, educational and cultural center and he is asking for citizen input. It is a very unusual opportunity to shape the ingredients of a sizeable acreage close to city limits and near highway access.
Katz, the co-founder of Mercury Payment Systems, now Vantiv, has so far held a couple of relatively small outdoor music events on the property, a use which he has said he was looking forward to creating and we hear went well.
Thursday night, tonight, La Plata County is hosting a public meeting to discuss how approximately 200 acres of the property might be utilized. The meeting will take place in the county’s new administration building at the northwest corner of Second Avenue and 11th Street between 4 and 7 p.m. A presentation will repeat at 4:15 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
The county will offer overviews of the acreage and open it up to comments.
Ewing Mesa once grew good wheat. A combination of fairly good soil and the proximity to the mountains where winter snow and then spring and summer showers occurred, made for good crops.
More recently, Ewing Mesa’s previous owner who had a Texas energy company, envisioned a golf course. When he died with no work begun, his heirs put the property on the market in 35-acre tracts. Katz purchased the property in early 2015 before it could be broken up, rescuing it from the 35-acre fate.
Now, he and the county are planning how a significant portion of it might be used.
Expect there to be talk about a new fairgrounds with plenty of room for large animal activities, and knowing Durango, plenty of ideas which include bike and pedestrian trails. What sort of facilities would make sense for music events very likely will be another topic.
Attend the meeting, either to give your own suggestions or to just get a sense of what the property’s future might be. It is certain to be a fascinating here-is-what-we’d-like-to-see session.