From Darkness To Light

10 Nov 2014

City to soon close on Jake Dalla’s Raiders Ridge property

Posted by Adam Howell

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Jake Dalla s Raider Ridge sale to Durango-page-001The City of Durango will be closing on 113 acres of Jake Dalla’s Raiders Ridge property at the end of December, which could come with the help of a Great Outdoors Colorado grant.

With or without the grant, the city is under contract to purchase the land from Dalla at his requested price of $6,000 dollars per acre.

If the GOCO grant is not awarded, the city will purchase the 113 acres in two phases, said Durango’s Assistant Community Development Director Kevin Hall.

Assistant Community Development Director Kevin Hall speaking to Durango City Council on the proposed acquisitions:

“As you know we been working with Mr. Jake Dalla, a property owner in the Horse Gulch area, for a couple of years now in terms of acquiring some of the lands within Horse Gulch,” said Hall.

“If you recall last year about this time we stood before you and talked about an 87-acre acquisition that we completed with Mr. Dalla using city open space funds.”

“In this particular case we have applied for a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado to cover about 54% of the cost of the acquisition.”

“We won’t know on the grant until early December. However, in terms of the process we’ve been going through with Mr. Dalla, he and the city worked pretty closely on this earlier phase 1 acquisition in 13′ with the understanding we would come back in 14′ and close on another portion of the acquisition really to meet his tax needs. And we did commit to doing that.”

“So what we’d like to do is close at the end of December. However, because we’re not going to know about the grant until early December, we have to set the contract up in a couple of ways. One is, if the grant is awarded in early December, we will go ahead and close on the entire 113 acres. If we find out the grant isn’t awarded, we will acquire a lesser amount of acreage that meets the appropriated fund balance that we currently have in our open space dollars currently available this year.”

“What I will say to the grant application, is I would say I think we are fairly confident, although you never know until you hear from the grantor, because there’s all these other folks competing for those same dollars. But we have received three grants from Great Outdoors Colorado in Horse Gulch. They’ve been excellent partners up there. A couple of weeks packed we toured the property and they sounded interested.”

“In order to move forward with a closing this year, how the grant would work, if its awarded, is it would be a reimbursement grant, which is a little bit different than what we’ve typically done. The money wouldn’t come in at closing, it would come in after we go through a number due diligence stuff with Great Outdoors Colorado, which includes placing a conservation easement over the property, donating an easement to La Plata Open Space Conservancy, and that has its own set of processes involved with it and that takes a couple of months to get through that process. The Open Space Conservancy has indicated support for accepting the easement. They do have some stewardship endowment fees that go along with their commitment.”

“It was really a couple of reasons why we chose to, in our grant application, indicate to GOCO that we would donate an additional 50 acres of easement on the ridge top combined with the 113 acres on property that we acquired last year from Mr. Dalla.”

“What it really does is a couple of things.”

“One is it strengthened out grant application, because it showed a further commitment than what was necessary.”

“The other thing it does is it really kind of unifies the eastern face of Raider Ridge under a very uniform management process, where the easement would kind of follow the entire ridge length, and in fact because of some of our earlier work with GOCO, a lot of the property up there is already under easement.”

“This would kind of make it a uniform ridge line for easement purposes working with the Open Space Conservancy knowing what you can and can’t do up there.”

A few points from Hall on the financial numbers:

  • Total grant request $380,690.
  • Total hard cost of the project with the associated due diligence: $698,000.
  • This total includes the purchase price and closing costs of $678,500 dollars, the La Plata Open Space Conservancy stewardship endowment fee of $15,58o dollars and the related studies that would need to be done of just under $4,000 dollars.
  • The total commitment from the city under the grant scenario would be $322,390 dollars.

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