Alamosa City Council accepts Rio Grande trail easement: January 2016

Press | Rio Grande Healthy Living Park

At the Alamosa city council meeting on Wednesday, January 20, the council unanimously accepted four trail easements for community use as part of the final preparations for the turnover of the Rio Grande Healthy Living Park from the Trust for Public Land to the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition.

According to the Trust for Public Land, a conservation easement that will run permanently with the land and preserve it as open space for farming and community recreation, together with the trail and utility easements granted to the city, have a value of more than $450,000. Colorado Open Lands will hold the conservation easement.

Julie Mordecai, director of the park, stated during the public comment period before the meeting that there are a lot of grants available for the city and other partners to apply for that can dovetail with each other and benefit the Rio Grande Corridor. In addition to the Rio Grande Healthy Living Park, she said, other partners could include Adams State University, the Alamosa Live Music Association, as well as city recreation areas such as Cole Park, the Cattails Golf Course, trails and disc golf course.

She formally invited the city to participate in a Colorado Health Foundation Grant, called Activating Places and Spaces.  “The more we work together as a community, the more resources will become available from foundations and philanthropists,” she said.

“Parks, trails and natural areas help define communities and serve as vivid statements about the aspirations and values of local residents,” said Jim Petterson, Colorado state director of The Trust for Public Land. “We are so grateful to the entire Alamosa community for its commitment to the Rio Healthy Living Park.”

After the city councilors voted to accept the trail easements, Mayor Josef Lucero said, “This council is witnessing a dream fulfilled . This is a vision for the city and our citizens that has endured much controversy over time. Through the endless meetings and the dedicated position of our elected officials, as well as the great gift from the Trust for Public Land and the Rio Grande Healthy Living Park, the trail and utility easements will be realized at little or no costs to the citizens.”

He continued, “As beneficiaries of this, generations of Alamosa citizens, as well as visitors, will be able to fully enjoy the vast recreational opportunities made available by this one action. As stewards of our citizens’ trust, I am proud that cooperation , dedication, and mutual respect for open space, cultural diversity and the need for growing our own food is becoming more a reality and not just a fad. Our Local Foods Coalition has also been instrumental in this common cause. Our commitment, as an elected body, to improve the quality of life in Alamosa is greatly enhanced by this most important step forward.”

Council members Ty Coleman and Jan Vigil expressed agreement and thanked the city staff and the Local Foods Coalition for their hard work. Through funds made available through GOCO, LOR Foundation, and the contributions of many individuals, the park will become locally held by the Coalition by the end of February. Following that transfer, there will be a community event to unveil the new name and branding for the park.