DEL NORTE- Over the last year, the county has been in negotiations with both the Town of Del Norte and the Upper Rio Grande School District about a piece of land that is located just south of the school. The land is referred to as the Del Norte Community Athletic Fields Linear Walking Trail and was attached to a GOCO grant several years ago. The county was the fiscal agent for the grant but had no interest in maintaining the land per the grant agreement and was approached by the school who wanted to take the grant over but keep the county on as fiscal sponsor.
The county declined the request and thought it best that the town become the fiscal sponsor for the grant because the school had recently been annexed into the town for utility purposes. In November of last year, commissioners passed a resolution that intended to relinquish all rights and obligations under the grant agreement and transfer everything to the town.
In a meeting held by the town in December, the Town board of trustees passed a similar resolution to accept all rights and obligations though the two entities never signed what is referred to in the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) as an assignment and assumption agreement which is a document required by GOCO for a transfer of rights and obligations to be complete.
The efforts of both the town and the county fell to the wayside, the school made no attempt to further their interest in the land according to commissioners and everything was on hold in the midst of the pandemic and other pressing issues. Then, in the spring of this year, Rio Grande County Commissioners were approached by board members from the D Mountain Parks and Recreation District, Patti Kelly and Jessica Lovelace.
The district was highly interested in the land and shared their history with commissioners stating that they used to be part of the High Valley Community Center but after several changes were made into their own entity that receives Conservation trust Fund money. The district has been working recently on a project to bring a recreation center to the area and were in need of a piece of land.
According to both Kelly and Lovelace the district has sufficient funding to maintain the walking trail and can meet all requirements set forth by the GOCO grant. It was at this point that the district requested the commissioners and the town consider deeding the land to the D Mountain Parks and Recreation District and allow them to move forward with plans on expanding recreational opportunities in the area.
In the MOU passed by both the county and the town it states, “Rio Grande County is in receipt of a letter from GOCO confirming that GOCO is agreeable to amending the grant agreement in order to allow for transfer of ownership and maintenance of the Del Norte Community Athletic Linear Walking Trail project to D Mountain Parks and Recreation District.
The MOU was signed by both parties Wednesday, June 10. Further details about the future of this project will be reported as they become available.