One of the most important aspects of Boulder Colorado is the greenbelt surrounding it. This ring of protected nature keeps Boulder from growing too large, and allows easy and convenient access to nature that has enamored residents and visitors alike. For these reasons it may seem concerning to hear that Boulder County commissioners have already given the go ahead to sell 129 acres of farmland to Longmont for over $2.1 million, but the details should put a lot of those worries to rest.
The 129 acres to be sold is located southwest of Colorado 66 and East County Line Road. This area is largely comprised of the area known as Montgomery Farm, and a smaller section just north of Jim Hamm Nature area. Another 72 acre plot of land owned by Trice property is also being considered as a future site Longmont would acquire.
The plans Longmont has set out for this land state that the 80 acres of Montgomery Farm would be used as the future site of a new community park. The 49 acres north of the Jim Hamm Nature area are to be left undeveloped, and may even continue to be used for agricultural purposes. Longmont’s development plans already have a plan for the Trice property as well. Under the city’s comprehensive plan, it will be another possible site for a community park.
This farmland sale to Longmont was reviewed ear in September 2016 during a county commissioners’ meeting. Janis Whisman, Longmont County’s Parks and Open Space real estate manager, along with commissioners Elise Jones, Deb Gardner, and Cindy Domenico approved Boulder County staff to move forward with the transaction. However, it is still dependent on whether or not Boulder County receives a federal grant that would cover half the cost of the conservation easement purchase. “Pending the time it takes to find out whether such a grant has been awarded, Boulder County would have a one-year option for the $2,703,335 conservation-easement purchase,” Janis Whisman said at the conclusion of the meeting.
Should that conservation-easement come through, it would serve to protect a gap in county-owned farmlands or cover private farmlands north of the highway in conservation easements.
According to Whisman, the city of Longmont still needs to accept the proposal to purchase the Montgomery farmland from Boulder. If they decide to finalize the purchase as it appears now, Longmont would have 5 years to complete the $2,128,901 purchase. While it looks like it will be some time before any noticeable change occurs, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for citizens of Boulder to fear losing ownership of this farmland.