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County seeks master plan for U.S. 84 property

Archuleta County staff is beginning the process to create a master plan for the use of the county’s 95-acre parcel located along U.S. 84.

The property is located at 668 U.S. 84, between the fairgrounds and county road and bridge facility — the former Blue Sky Village development site that went into foreclosure in 2010.

The county purchased the land for $745,000 ($7,776 per acre) late in 2010. The property includes 18 C-shares of water rights in the Park Ditch Company.

On Tuesday, the county commissioners approved issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) for recreation development services.

With the RFQ, the BoCC and county staff said they hope to find a qualified consultant to create a master plan for the use of the county’s 95 acres.

Contracts and Procurement Officer Larry Walton said the county has intentions of developing public spaces and amenities that will complement the county’s existing amenities while providing something new, at the same time identifying with the county’s western heritage and outdoor character.

County Administrator Greg Schulte said the RFQ process will be based on qualifications and not necessary the apparent low bid.

The deadline for the RFQ is Oct. 6, Walton said. From there, staff hopes to recommend a consultant for approval by the first week of November, with a target date for completion of the plan of March.

In presenting the RFQ, county staff failed to mention that the plan would be funded through the County’s Conservation Trust Fund, concerning audience member Teri Frazier about the county’s spending choices.

Frazier acknowledged that the Tuesday decision didn’t approve spending money, but that it concerned spending money down the road, “that the county doesn’t have” and should be spent on roads and equipment.

“This is an ill-timed plan to spend money on a consultant,” Frazier said.

Schulte then explained that the funding for the plan would come from the Conservation Trust Fund — money intended for projects such as this and that could not be spent on roads or equipment.

The Conservation Trust Fund provides revenues from state lottery proceeds. The county receives about $100,000 yearly, $30,000 of which is allocated to the Town of Pagosa Springs for parks and recreation purposes.

To purchase the property, county staff refinanced debt obligated to the county in 2009 that is used for capital equipment leases and road improvements in order to have debt payments close to what the county paid before the purchase of the property.

The portion of the debt for the property, about $70,000 per year, is paid through the Conservation Trust Fund.

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