Salida City Council members held a joint work session with Natural Resource Center Development Corp. board members Monday, March 19.
Ron Mazzeo, NRCDC board president, said the sale of the U.S. Forest Service building and 48.5 acres of land is complete. Bearcreek Partnership LLC purchased the real estate for $3.8 million. “There’s no encumbrance on the property any more. The loan’s paid off.”
Mazzeo also told council members that Lot 4, an 8.3-acre parcel of Vandaveer Ranch property, is under contract for approximately $415,000.
“We’re also working on issues with access (to the Vandaveer property) through Palmer Street and considering a conservation easement in the floodplain along the (South Arkansas) river,” Mazzeo said. “After we tie up some loose ends, we’ll be transferring about 95 acres and any other assets back to the city.”
Mazzeo added, “You should be aware that we may have a tax liability” that may require some cash be applied to federal and state taxes. “We’ve already paid about $54,000 in county property taxes for 2017 for the Forest Service building.
When Councilman Rusty Granzella asked why the board members were considering a conservation easement, Mazzeo replied, “It’s in the floodplain, so you can’t build there. We’re looking to create a city park there, a nature park to be used for educational purposes.”
Mayor P.T. Wood commented that he thinks a park is the best use for the land along the South Arkansas River but indicated that the city may want to consider other ways to protect the land.
Councilman Harald Kasper asked NRCDC board members about the possibility of using the property’s old livestock tunnel under U.S. Highway 50 to provide a safe pedestrian crossing. “An underpass would be a great asset.”
Jim McConaghy, NRCDC treasurer, said the livestock tunnel is failing and that Colorado Department of Transportation officials had asked for it to be filled in. “We were going to use it for utilities then backfill it with concrete.”
Other council members also expressed an interest in determining if the tunnel could be used for a pedestrian underpass.
Councilman Dan Shore asked NRCDC board members if they had any plans for the NRCDC after transferring its assets back to the city.
Mazzeo said the board members were discussing that topic, adding “I don’t know that there would be a need to continue.”
Former city officials Hal Brown, Jim LiVecchi, Melodee Hallett and Ben Kahn attended the NRCDC portion of the work session but remained silent when Mayor Wood opened the work session to public comments.