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    New Collaboration Forms Around Regional Open Space

    Two Boulders Join Jeffco and Drop Opposition to Parkway

    The last major piece in an agreement that brings three major local governments together fell into place last night when the Boulder City Council joined Boulder and Jefferson County Commissioners in adopting an intergovernmental agreement (IGA).

    The terms are unprecedented and far-reaching and will result in the purchase of the 640-acre Section 16 in northwest Jefferson County, with all parties contributing to the purchase and the two Boulder governments agreeing to drop their long-standing opposition to the construction of the Jefferson Parkway. The agreement expands the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, preserves regional open space, enhances transportation, and creates economic development opportunities in northern Jefferson County.

    The document was adopted by the Jeffco Commissioners and their Boulder counterparts April 28. Boulder City Council adopted it May 3. Both the Boulder and Jeffco Commissioners were unanimous in their decisions while Boulder City Council had a 7-2 vote.

    “I am thrilled with this agreement. There have been bad feelings between us in the past but we have all put it aside to save this beautiful open space, preserving the views along Highway 93 as we travel from Golden to Boulder,” said Commissioner Faye Griffin, adding that she looks forward to the new warm, positive relationships that will benefit the residents of both Boulder and Jefferson County. “As Boulder Council Member Suzy Ageton said, “This is win, win, win situation for everyone. Now we need to move forward.”

    Commissioner Don Rosier said collaboration was key. “As a business man, I am used to working toward solutions. This one required elected officials and staffs from three very different jurisdictions to work together on this creative and complicated agreement that brings benefits in many ways. It provides a critical link for wildlife that connects the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge with the mountain backdrop.” Rosier mentioned he saw nearly 40 head of elk crossing on Section 16 that evening on his drive to Boulder.

    The IGA confirms that Jeffco will contribute $5.1 million, and Boulder County and the City of Boulder each will contribute $2 million, all toward the purchase of much of Section 16, which is owned by the Colorado State Land Board. The partner governments also will work to secure the remaining funds that could be necessary to acquire all of Section 16 including mineral rights and to turn it over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to expand the wildlife refuge.

    Jeffco Commissioner John Odom was ecstatic with the decisive vote by the Boulder City Council. “Finally!” Odom said. “Dropping their opposition enables the county and our partners in the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority to build the Jefferson Parkway. As a result of the agreements, the Parkway Authority will be able to acquire a crucial slice of land for roadway right-of-way on the east side of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.”

    “An act of Congress in 2001, the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Act, decreed that the land could be sold for use as a transportation corridor for construction of the parkway. Now we can go forward and finally acquire it and build the road,” Commissioner Griffin added.

    “It was great to see the enthusiasm from elected officials,” added Ralph Schell, Jeffco County Administrator. Even the two Boulder council members who voted against the IGA seemed torn, but supportive in several ways. I especially appreciated hearing comments that it's time for the jurisdictions to work together towards common goals. I agree with the Boulder staff who said it is one of the most complex real estate transactions ever. But we all have the tools to get these transactions completed. It is gratifying to see everyone using them collectively. Of course we're not done yet, but its time to move on to the next stage in the process.”

    The IGA with the Boulders also states that the three entities will not take any steps to reduce the capacity or maintenance on Highway 93, or make any agreements to toll the existing lanes. The highway is a state highway, owned and maintained by CDOT.

    May 4, 2011

    Last Updated: 5-31-2013