Merry Christmas, Durango: The city purchased another 113 acres of open space on Raider Ridge that will be protected in perpetuity.
The city sealed the deal Tuesday for about $672,800, Durango Parks and Recreation Department Director Cathy Metz said. The land, to the east of the SkyRidge subdivision, was paid for with a sales tax designated for parks, open space and trails.
In December 2013, the city bought about 32 acres north of Overend Mountain Park for $299,000.
The city is not finished yet. With 1,489 acres in Horse Gulch already preserved, the city is looking at more acquisitions. Many people supported protecting land around that area in a survey that is helping guide city decisions.
“Horse Gulch was very highly rated as an area for preservation,” Metz said.
The city applied for a Great Outdoors Colorado Grant for $380,690 to help offset the cost of the land but did not receive the extra cash.
Officials had planned to purchase the land in two parcels if they did not receive the grant. But the Parks and Recreation Department decided to purchase all the land at once after further conversations with the property owner, Metz said.
A trail crosses the parcel, and this ensures public access to the land forever.
Road, parking-lot repairs
The city also invested in a new 18-space parking lot at the trailhead of Horse Gulch that opened in early September.
Major rainfall filled the parking lot with muck and debris later in the month, and it washed out the road leading up to The Meadow.
The city spent about $15,000 to clear out the parking lot and make repairs to the area. This includes $1,600 for four trees that will be replanted in the spring.
La Plata County spent about $13,000 bringing in dirt and leveling out about 2,100 feet of road, said Jim Davis, the county engineer.
Davis said it would be difficult for any drainage system to prevent a similar washout during a comparable storm because the canyon is narrow.
“We did the best we could, the city and county, on an emergency basis,” Davis said.
A county crew was involved because the road historically was under La Plata County jurisdiction. Lawyers with the city and county currently are negotiating the future of the road, he said.