Originally Published: February 3, 2018 5:56 a.m.
After the Courier’s great Jan. 28 article, “Prescott closes escrow on Dells open space acquisition,” I thank Prescott’s Mayor and Council for this magnificent acquisition and the courageous recent actions that made it possible. In 2016, they set aside $3.8 million to be used for such acquisitions.
Only readers who’ve been following Prescott’s open space preservation efforts for some time now would know that these funds resulted from a tax for open space acquisitions and street construction and maintenance. Voters approved that in 2000, and it expired at the end of 2015. The funds could not legally be used for any purpose other than the stated ones. In 2015, voters approved a new tax for streets only, and our streets were guaranteed better times without the $3.8 million.
Nevertheless, it took courage to set aside these funds, at a time when many citizens didn’t know all of this and were extremely concerned about impending financial impacts of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System. Lesser public servants might have somehow tried to dodge the taxpayers’ original intent.
Prescott adopted an Open Space Plan in 2009, and by reference that became part of the General Plan Revision voters approved in 2015. At the heart of the Open Space Plan are lands in and around Granite Dells, which have collectively been dubbed “The Central Park of Prescott.”
They are beautiful, historic, iconic of our locale, and an endless source of outdoor recreation opportunities for our residents and our economically essential visitors.