By Lucinda Greene, Colorado Master Gardener Program Coordinator and Assistant Horticulturist
Effective January 1, CSU Extension in Arapahoe County is reporting to the Open Spaces Department. Shannon Carter, Director of Arapahoe County Open Spaces and Intergovernmental Relations said, “One of the goals of the Open Spaces program is to expand environmental education in our community. The collaborative partnership we are building will enable us to expand and enhance what we offer as an ‘outdoor classroom’ to our citizens.”
The Open Spaces Department preserves natural and heritage spaces, enhances neighborhood and regional parks, and builds and maintains trails. Since 2003, the Department has conserved more than 31,000 acres of open space, built more than 73 miles of trails, and supported more than 15 park and trailhead projects. This work is funded by a sales and use tax equal to 25 cents on every $100 spent. The tax was last authorized in 2011, and extends to 2023. 50% of the funds raised are given back to cities and towns within Arapahoe County through both grants and shareback programs. 26.6% is spent on acquisition and trail development1.
Presently, the Open Spaces department is in the midst of updating its Master Plan. Last completed in May 2010, the purpose of the new Master Plan is to create a vision for the future. Focus areas in the plan include access and awareness, trails and recreation, conservation priorities, and programming and education. Tim Aston, Director of CSU Extension in Arapahoe County, said, “I’m looking forward to Extension becoming a key component of Open Spaces’ educational programming portfolio.”
Reference: 1Open Spaces (n.d.). Arapahoe County. Retrieved December 16, 2020 from https://www.arapahoegov.com/1720/Open-Spaces