Eagle County’s voter-approved Open Space Mill Levy is truly a gift that keeps on giving — generating about $4.5 million a year through a mere 1.5 mill levy. There’s one downside: This critical funding stream is scheduled to end before a lot of important work is accomplished. That’s why the Eagle County Commissioners are asking voters to extend the program for another 15 years.
Why 15 more years? The county needs to plan for the future of the program, and acquiring and preserving open space takes a lot of lead time and long-term planning. It is not unusual for acquisitions to take years, or even decades, to come about. A longer planning horizon will allow us to ensure we maintain our existing properties while also looking ahead strategically at projects our community and our partners want to see completed.
We know the great things the Eagle County Open Space program can accomplish because it has a proven track record. We just have to ensure it keeps up the good work.
If the extension is approved this fall, the program’s Open Space Advisory Committee and its community partners can move ahead with plans to add several more key land acquisitions to an already diverse portfolio. In other words, it will continue its extraordinarily successful mission of supporting conservation, recreation and the quality-of-life values we all cherish.