GOCO scores with lottery
Say what you will about lotteries in general and the Colorado Lottery in particular, but it’s been great for Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley.Through Great Outdoors Colorado, a trust fund created in 1992 to purchase land for recreation and open space around the state using lottery proceeds, Pitkin County has been able to secure hundreds of acres that would otherwise be sprinkled with trophy homes.Under the leadership of Executive Director Dale Will, Pitkin County’s open space and trails program has done a remarkable job of securing funding from GOCO and other sources for open space purchases in recent years. Although GOCO contributions in past years helped secure key parcels like the former Denver and Rio Grande railroad corridor, there was a time when the state did not respond as favorably to our grant requests because of the county’s affluent reputation. Thanks to Will’s hard work and the unwavering support of local taxpayers, the county’s relationship with GOCO has vastly improved. And we’re all reaping the benefits in the form of grants that help stretch the county’s open space dollars. Over the past three GOCO grant periods, Pitkin County has received $703,000 for 129 acres at Cozy Point South, $750,000 for 240 acres at Seven Star and $1 million for 1,480 acres at the Harvey Ranch. This $2,453,000 from GOCO allows Pitkin County to extend its purchasing power.Will and the Pitkin County commissioners and staff have done a commendable job winning GOCO grants and using them wisely. They have made smart choices about what parcels to pursue and what grants to apply for. Everyone who drives Highway 82 or Brush Creek Road can now see GOCO dollars at work. Efforts like these are part of the reason that the upper Roaring Fork Valley, for all its warts, isn’t nearly as cluttered and overbuilt as much of Garfield and Eagle counties.So, go out and buy some lottery tickets today. Who knows – you might win in more ways than one.
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