County gobbling up more open space | AspenTimes.com

County gobbling up more open space

John ColsonAspen, CO Colorado

PITKIN COUNTY Pitkin County has finalized the purchase of roughly 20 acres of open space in Redstone known as the Argeros Parcels.Located along both sides of Redstone Boulevard on the north end of town, the parcels extend down to the Crystal River and up into U.S. Forest Service terrain above the road.A number of cottage-sized boulders that have fallen from the red cliffs above town and are used by rock climbers as practice routes are included in the purchase, said the countys Open Space & Trails director, Dale Will. The site also contains remnants of an old Forest Service road long used as a public trail between the Redstone Campground and the village center, Will told the Pitkin County commissioners Wednesday.Owned by Bill Argeros, the property was on the market for $1.25 million. But as a result of negotiations with real estate broker Bob McCormick, acting on Argeros behalf, the county is paying $350,000, plus two transferable development rights that Argeros can sell to someone developing somewhere else in Pitkin County.Will called McCormick an open space enthusiast who has worked with the county in the past to preserve parcels of land from development.Acquisition of the property will help define a permanent edge for Redstone while preserving public access along the existing trail and along this reach of the Crystal River, Will wrote in a memo to the commissioners.The purchase meets the countys goals of preserving riparian habitat along the Crystal, Will said, providing recreational resources anywhere in the county, and offering scenic vistas adjacent to the village of Redstone.It does bring in a lot of visitors, Commissioner Patti Clapper said. I think its an exceptional property.The commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the contracts enabling the purchase, using money from the countys open space fund.The commissioners also recently approved deals to complete the trade of 35 acres known as the Ryan Parcel near the ghost town of Ashcroft to the Forest Service. The deal also involves the transfer from the Forest Service to Pitkin County of more than 40 acres of Bureau of Land Management property, and the sale of a track of land known as the Wildwood parcel to a private landowner, Theodore Skokos, for $2 million.The sale of the Wildwood parcel, which originally was purchased using open space money, is contingent on voter approval.In addition, the county recently bought nearly one acre along the Roaring Fork River, downstream from the Gerbaz Way bridge, owned by local attorney Rick Neiley, for $250,000.Will told the commissioners that Neiley had donated to the county a public easement along the river bank in 2007. In negotiating the current land deal, Neiley agreed to drop $50,000 from the appraised value of the land.The acquisition of the Neiley parcel would consolidate open space ownership of river frontage along that stretch of river, and is viewed as an important access point for boaters and other river users, Will wrote in the memo.jcolson@aspentimes.com

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