The Foothills Park & Recreation District recently placed more 30 acres of land up for sale, hoping to net $4.5 million for capital-improvement projects and other expenses.
The five South Jeffco parcels, which the district calls “surplus land,” have not been slated for park development for various reasons. Most of the parcels are near existing parks, and several sit next to busy intersections, which would make accessibility difficult if parks were to be developed, Foothills executive director Ron Hopp said.
“There’s plenty of service being provided by the greenways and parks in the area,” he said. “They’re very well served.”
Foothills originally acquired the parcels via dedications from land developers, county open-space donations and various purchases. The land would be sold for commercial or residential development.
“They’re on the market now, so we’re soliciting offers,” Hopp said. “We’ve (already) received some.”
In addition to funds from the potential sales, the district would likely reap additional revenue through a new property tax base, once the parcels are developed.
The potential sales, which the district’s board of directors initially approved in February, could take more than a year, however. Rezoning or re-platting the parcels will likely be a requisite of any sales, processes that require multiple public hearings before county boards.
“They all have to go through county processes of some level,” Hopp said.
The parcels are located at: the northeast and northwest corners of West Coal Mine Avenue and South Wadsworth Boulevard; the southwest corner of South Wadsworth Boulevard and West Columbine Drive; and the northwest and southwest corners of South Simms Street and South Ward Street.
“It is the district’s position that owning and maintaining vacant properties is a disservice to the taxpaying public, and these properties can be better utilized by the private sector. This action is not unlike what a private-sector business would do in a similar financial situation,” Foothills said in a news release.
The district does not have specific plans for funds generated from the land sales, Hopp said, though Foothills recently compiled a 10-year, $44 million capital-improvement project list.
The list includes nearly $36 million in repair work and more than $8 million in equipment purchases to be completed by 2021. Among the larger projects are $4.9 million in repairs to the Lily Gulch Center and Pool, $2.3 million in repairs to the Meadows Golf Course, and $5.2 million in repairs to the Foothills Golf Course.
Some of the money could also be used toward debt payments or operational expenses, Hopp said.
Currently, the district budgets only about $300,000 per year toward capital improvements, which doesn’t meet needs, Hopp said.
Reaction from neighborhoods adjacent to the properties has been largely positive, he said, despite some objections to new developments.
“I have met with eight (homeowners’ associations) in the area … (to) let them know this is happening,” Hopp said. “Most of those have gone well. Others haven’t.”
Foothills parcels listed for sale:
• 5.47 acres in the northwest corner of West Coal Mine Avenue and South Wadsworth Boulevard
• 4.72 acres in the northeast corner of West Coal Mine Avenue and South Wadsworth Boulevard
• 3.85 acres in the southwest corner of South Wadsworth Boulevard and West Columbine Drive
• 14.3 acres in the northwest corner of South Simms Street and South Ward Street
• 3.17 acres in the southwest corner of South Simms Street and South Ward Street