DEL NORTE – Negotiations between Rio Grande County Commissioners, Upper Rio Grande School District (URGSD), D Mountain Parks and Recreation and community members have begun to gather pace over the future of the grounds Del Norte Community Sports Center on Friday, April 23, during a commissioner’s business session. Several people gathered in the rooms of the Rio Grande Commissioner to discuss the future of the 40-acre parcel of land and to try to reach a resolution.
The Del Norte Sports Fields have been on the table since they were first presented to the Commissioners in 2017 when URGSD Superintendent Chris Burr came to inquire about the field when the school received the BEST grant for a new building. Burr said at the meeting that the discussion with former board members broke down after a while, but it was now more important than ever to revisit the ownership issue and resolve it for the good. from the community.
Rio Grande commissioner Gene Glover said before the start of the working session that there was only one main reason for everyone present to be in this room and that was to solve the problem. land ownership for children.
“I would ask everyone here today to remember that we are here for the children in our community and to find an amicable solution that best meets their needs,” Glover said.
The problem facing all entities involved is the fact that when the land was purchased in 1996, there was an agreement between the school and the Rio Grande County commissioners at the time that the two entities would split the cost of purchase, with the county paying one-third and the school paying the remainder, and that ownership of the land would pass to the school once the full amount of the purchase had been paid. The land was never deeded to the school and nothing was done with the land after 1996 when landscaping, a walking path and a concession stand were placed on the property.
It was also agreed in the 90s that the school would take care of the land and the county would help facilitate this. The school maintained the grounds until a year ago when confusion over ownership became an issue.
Last July, D Mountain Parks and Recreation entered the scene hoping to use the land using the Colorado Great Outdoor funding it regularly received to begin work on beatification and begin planning the construction of a community recreation center. Rio Grande County Commissioners also decided they no longer wanted to be tax agents for a Department of Local Affairs grant awarded a few years ago and the City of Del Norte offered to take responsibility for the grant so that D Mountain Parks and Recreation can use towards future projects.
Once again, the topic has been tabled for further consideration due to more pressing matters including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now the parties have come together in hopes of resolving the issue. At the end of the working session, it was stated that the school had identified an additional area that it would be willing to transfer to D Mountain Parks and Recreation for its purposes, such as the recreation center, approximately 10 acres.
The school district is financially ready to spruce up the land and immediately create a community park.
It was decided that all parties, in particular the three main entities, would bring the discussion back to the table in regular meetings so that an agreement – an intergovernmental agreement or a memorandum of understanding – could be created and agreed upon before the end. of the school year.