Droste effort gets $1 million in Pitco open-space funds | AspenTimes.com

Droste effort gets $1 million in Pitco open-space funds

Sarah S. Chung

The drive to purchase the Droste property at Snowmass Village’s gateway received a $1 million boost Thursday.

By resolution, the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Board formally committed $1 million in open space dollars toward the acquisition of 940 acres that frame the entrance to the town of Snowmass Village.

“This is a significant step that serves as a platform to continue negotiations,” said board member Rick Neiley. “We’re excited about this move forward and hope that we can move quickly through the rest of the process.”

The appraised value of the property has not been made public. Snowmass Village voters have already approved $7.1 million in bonding for the purchase and a $3 million grant request has been submitted to Great Outdoors Colorado.

Although no recreational components are contemplated with the Droste purchase, Open Space Board Chairman Bill Fales said the opportunity to protect the land from development is one that can’t be passed up.

“There are immense values in terms of wildlife, riparian corridors, and view plane assets,” Fales said. “Some pieces of property are bought solely for its recreational values, some solely for wildlife, some joint. We’re not going to meet every need on every purchase.”

For board member John Starr, the wildlife aspects were enough to garner his support.

“There are a number of positive factors, but for me it was primarily the existence of major elk and wildlife crossings on the property,” said Starr, a part-owner of The Aspen Times. “The Division of Wildlife was very convincing that Droste was a primary corridor that must be maintained.”

Local officials should know by June whether or not GOCO will provide any funds for the purchase, said Neiley. A purchase agreement with the Droste family could be finalized by July, he said.

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