Boulder has pulled the plug on four land deals that would have added 1,000 acres of open space to the the green doughnut of public property that surrounds the city.
Boulder made history in 1967 when residents voted to tax themselves to buy open space land — a first for the United States. Forty-two years later, the city owns more than 45,000 acres, and citizens are still taxing themselves.
Boulderites have given the city permission to go another $38 million into debt to buy more land, but grim sales tax revenues, a finicky bond market and ridiculously high land prices have acted together to grind the acquisitions program to a halt.
With no improvement in sales tax revenues this summer, the city let the contract on one property expire and put negotiations for three others on hold, meaning 1,000 acres of land remained in private hands instead of becoming public open space, according to a city memo on open space issues.
Ann Goodhart, division manager for real estate services for Open Space and Mountain Parks, said very few properties are on the market now, and those that are, are over-priced, in the city’s view.
“Sellers have not adjusted their expectations to reflect market conditions,” Goodhart said. Read more