DEL NORTE – Negotiations between Rio Grande County Commissioners, Upper Rio Grande School District (URGSD), D Mountain Parks and Recreation, and community members have started to accelerate over the future of the community sports fields of Del Norte on Friday April 23, during a working session of the commissioners. Several people gathered in the Rio Grande Commissioner’s chambers 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 get more information from the field. when the school received the best grant for a new building. Burr said during the meeting that the discussion with the former board members failed after some time, but that it was now more important than ever to revisit the ownership issue and resolve it for the good of the community.
Rio Grande commissioner Gene Glover said before the start of the working session that there was only one main reason everyone present was in this room and that was to solve the problem. of land ownership for children.
“I would ask everyone here today to remember that we are here for the children of our community and to find a friendly resolution that best meets their needs,” said Glover.
The problem that all the entities involved face 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 share ownership. purchase cost, with the county paying a third and the school paying the remainder, and that ownership of the land would be transferred to the school after the full purchase amount has been paid. The land was never ceded to the school and nothing was done with the land after 1996 when landscaping, a walking path and a concession stand were built on the property.
It was also agreed during the 90s that the school would take care of the land and that the county would help facilitate this. The school held onto the land until a year ago, when ownership confusion became a problem.
Last July, D Mountain Parks and Recreation came on the scene in hopes of using the land using the Colorado Great Outdoor funding he regularly received to begin the beatification work and begin planning for the construction of a community recreation center. Rio Grande County Commissioners also decided that they no longer wanted to be the tax agents for a grant from the Department of Local Affairs that had been awarded a few years ago and the city of Del Norte offered to take over. responsibility for the grant so that D Mountain Parks and Recreation can use towards future projects.
Once again, the subject has come under further consideration due to more pressing issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now the parties have come together in the hope of resolving the issue. At the end of the working session, it was reported that the school had identified additional acreage that they would be willing to transfer to D Mountain Parks and Recreation for their purpose, such as the recreation center, approximately 10 acres.
The school district is financially prepared to beautify the land and immediately create a community park.
It was decided that all parties, especially 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 to before the end. of the school year.