Arapahoe County today awarded more than $24 million in open space funding to cities, towns and partner agencies, enhancing local parks, trails and open space offerings across the region. The annual open space awards ceremony recognizes how the County’s only sales and use tax, which is solely dedicated to our area’s open spaces, positively impacts the quality of life for residents.
Fifty percent of the annual sales and use tax revenue - reauthorized by voters in 2021 - is shared directly back to participating cities and towns using a population-based formula. Since the program’s inception, more than $278 million has funded playground and park improvements, trail connections, and preserved acres of open space.
“Today we celebrate the power of partnerships in improving the communities we serve,” said Commissioner Nancy Jackson, Chair of the Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners. “Together with our agency partners, we can do more and be more for the people of Arapahoe County than we could ever do on our own. Our residents depend on our outdoor spaces for physical and mental health, and I hope these funds will enable our partners to keep critical projects moving forward.”
In addition to Shareback funds, the Board awarded 17 project-specific grants ranging from $15,000 to $500,000 to 12 local cities, towns and special districts. Twelve percent of the tax revenue is dedicated to a competitive grant program, which is evaluated by an advisory board comprised of local residents. This year, the county’s $5 million investment is leveraged by more than $3.3 million in matching funds provided by the grant recipients.
When these projects are completed, communities across the County will benefit from improvements at 10 parks across the metro area, nearly one mile of new trail in Aurora, and five park or trail planning projects that will guide the way for future improvements. Details about the 2022 grant awards are below.
The ceremony also awarded its annual Progress Takes Flight stewardship award to the Open Space Sales and Use Tax Reauthorization Committees, honoring their work to secure the future of the Arapahoe County Open Spaces program. They regularly met to review options and data for consideration of a tax extension—all based on public input and feedback from municipal partners. Ballot Issue 1A passed with more than 76% of the vote, continuing the County-wide investment in perpetuity and reaffirming residents’ resounding support for the Open Spaces Program.
“We’re grateful for the work of the Committees, staff and our voters, for recognizing what an important role these operations and amenities play in sustaining and improving the County’s quality of life,” Jackson said. “To healthy lands, healthy communities, and healthy people!”
2022 grant recipients:
- $500,000 to construct an extension of the Murphy Creek Trail in southeast Aurora to improve neighborhood connectivity
- $15,000 to add new amenities for trail users at Bennett Regional Park and Open Space
- $500,000 for a new picnic shelter and restroom at Bates/Logan Park
- $500,000 for improvements at Mir Park, including new pickleball courts, restrooms, and picnic facilities
- City of Greenwood Village
- $500,000 for a new adventure play area at Village Greens North Park
- $500,000 to support the stabilization of Jackass Gulch to reduce erosion and improve water quality, and add new trail access to the area
- $100,000 to update the City’s Parks, Open Space, and Recreation Master Plan
- $100,000 to complete a comprehensive study of the Bear Creek Trail corridor to identify future improvements
- Arapahoe Park & Recreation District
- $490,467 for new trails, park access points, and an improved basketball court at Fox Hill Park
- $100,815 to improve trails in Tollgate Park
- $89,215 to create a master plan for a new park in the Copperleaf neighborhood
- Cherry Creek Vista Park & Recreation District
- $500,000 for renovation of Sunset Park in unincorporated Arapahoe County, including improvements to the playground, basketball and tennis courts, and landscaping
- $100,000 to design a connection between two disjointed segments of the Piney Creek Trail, improving the existing trail alignment
- South Suburban Park & Recreation District
- $382,300 for renovation of Linksview Park in Centennial, including a new playground, shade structure, and walkways
- $438,000 for renovation of Cherry Park in Centennial, including a new playground, picnic area, and other park amenities
- $100,000 to prioritize future improvements to Cornerstone Park
- Strasburg Metro Park & Recreation District
- $83,500 to improve the playground and ballfield spectator area at Five Acre Park
To learn more about the Arapahoe County Open Spaces program, including current projects, properties and upcoming events, visit www.arapahoegov.com/openspaces