Purchase of recreation land OK'd

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— In a unanimous decision, the Hayden Town Board has approved the purchase of a 22.87-acre parcel of land for future recreation use.

After a motion made by Trustee Jim Haskins that was seconded by Ken Gibbon, the much-anticipated purchase from landowner Wes Signs was approved with little discussion. Town Board members and Town Manager Rob Straebel have been working to solidify the property purchase for more than a year.

The town plans to purchase the first 20 acres at an appraised value of $144,000 by May 1.

It will then finalize the deal by buying the remaining 2.87 acres and 1 foot of senior water rights from Signs in January 2001 for an estimated $84,700.

The town is purchasing the property in two pieces so that it can use an already-approved $114,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant. To use the GOCo funds, the town must purchase property for its appraised market value.

The sale of the smaller, second piece for $84,700 will make up the difference in the $228,700 the town agreed to pay Signs for the entire parcel.

He is pleased about the town's decision to purchase the property, and especially the senior water rights.

"These are very senior water rights with an appropriation date of Oct. 1, 1888," Straebel said. "The water rights that are included in the town purchase have tremendous value if the town so chooses to divert these agricultural water rights into a municipal use in the future. The value of the property goes up exponentially."

The only thing holding up the purchase is the title research that has to be done to finalize the sale, Straebel said.

"I'm incredibly enthusiastic about the town acquiring this land," Straebel said. "It has tremendous benefits to the town for current use and for future generations to come."

The Signs property is slated as the future development site of Hayden's proposed recreation center and grounds.

Located south of the fairgrounds, the property, if and when completely developed, would have a recreation area with a workout center and numerous playing fields. It would also have a spillover parking area for the fairgrounds.

Then, the proposed West Routt Recreation District, which will go before voters for approval in November, would likely lease the property from the town, Straebel said.

The town's recreation district committee, which is working to establish the recreation district and center, is putting ballot questions including a property tax increase to fund the new recreation amenities to district voters in November.

Specifically, four issues will appear on the ballot: the formation of a recreation district, the election of recreation district board members, a mill levy increase to fund operational expenses of the recreation facility and a construction bond to pay for the structure.

If the ballot issues fail, the town will pursue construction of baseball, softball and soccer fields through GOCo funding and phasing projects, Straebel said.


-- To reach Bryna Larsen call 871-4205 or e-mail blarsen@amigo.net

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