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Now is the time to comment on Boulder open space plan

June 10, 2019 in Boulder



By Alan Delamere

The city of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks draft Master Plan was released on May 20, and public input is requested by Wednesday.

This 127-page document is available only online, at bouldercolorado.gov/osmp/osmp-master-plan.

As I review the Master Plan, I am discouraged.

Last year, OSMP staff assured me that the parking problem at Mount Sanitas would be addressed in the plan, so that was the first thing I searched for. This was not included.

The next thing I looked for was the acquisition of new OSMP land. Although there were lots of good words,  there was nothing specific. I downloaded the Open Space and Mountain Parks Acquisition Update 2013-2019 to look for the priority lands to be acquired list.The list is shown in Table 2 with no priority order — (4,596 acres, including 900 at Leyden, 1,700 at Table Mountain, and 198 at Mountain Parks, 1,298 at newly available properties, and 500 in unanticipated opportunities.)  The costs shown total $29.2 million, plus a large unknown number for Table Mountain.

In reading the plan, I was left wondering what is OSMP’s definition of a plan? My definition of “plan” is “a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something.” I was looking for specific actions, and instead I found nice sounding generalities.

Even in High Priority Strategies there are no specifics. For example, on page 8: “Reduce The Trail Maintenance Backlog.” An item that I feel all users would support is followed with “Use technology to anticipate and address long-term maintenance needs and changing conditions through a prioritized, life-cycle approach to improving the condition of OSMP’s diverse portfolio of historic and modern trails and amenities.”

What do these words mean in the form of priority listing and cost?

Another of my concerns is in the section entitled “Financial Sustainability. What will this Plan cost?” The tax extensions run out this year and next based on the expectation that we will have completed the planned acquisitions. This is the crisis problem for OSMP staff. Without tax revenue, either from extension or new initiatives, OSMP funding will be cut by 30%, and many staff will lose their jobs. There are 128 staff positions in OSMP, with two vacant positions and two people doing two positions. Acquiring new land means more staff maintenance workload.

The lack of specifics in the plan suggests to me that the plan does not adequately support a tax extension.

I believe that the plan should be modified to include priority listing of activities with associated costs. Then the public may be persuaded to support a tax increase.

City Council and the Open Space Board of Trustees will hold a study session on the Master Plan on Wednesday, June 12. Your opportunity to offer your opinions, concerns and ideas is now. I urge you to review the Master Plan and give your feedback.

Alan Delamere lives in Boulder.



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