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News: Features & Opinions Archive (2011)

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Date: June 2011

Jeffco Open Space Foundation, Inc.

The Jeffco Open Space Foundation was incorporated in June 1998 and received 501(c)3 status in April 1999. It was incorporated "for education and charitable purposes to receive, solicit, administer and disburse gifts, grants devices, bequests or other conveyances or real and personal property or the income derived therefrom for the benefit of the Jefferson County Open Space Department upon a request from the director of the Jefferson County Open Space Department."

The impetus for its formation was the dedication of the Nature Center Building and the fact that if one donated appreciated property to the County, the Internal Revenue Service would only allow deduction of the acquisition cost of the property. However, if the property was donated to a charity, the present market value was deductible.

The Foundation’s Director all are present or former members of OSAC plus past Open Space Director Ray Printz. Open Space Director Tom Hoby and Assistant County Attorney Steve Snyder serve as ex-officio members.

In the 13 years since the Foundation’s inception cash donations have totaled $764,000 – about $60,000 per year. These donations have been for memorials, bequests, and direct contributions. In these 13 years lands with a market value of $1,219,000, mineral rights with a value of $170,000, and a conservation easement with a value of $944,000 have been received.

Arvada Parks’ contributions. As such we have received donations for the West Arvada Dog (off-leash) Park, The West Arvada Disc Golf Course, The Skate Park (under construction) adjacent to the Apex Recreation Center, plus some contributions directed toward trails and conservation. Disbursements for these so far have included $63,950 for the dog park, $10,600 for the disc golf, and more than $20,000 is available for the skate park.

Accomplishments funded partially or fully by the Foundation for Open Space include:

Shelters in Elk Meadow Park

Exhibits at the Lookout Mountain Nature Center

Supplies to build trail bridges

Trail signs

Audio Visual systems for the Open Space meeting rooms

Improvements to the Plymouth Trail at Deer Creek Park

Fencing at Elk Meadow Dog Park

Picnic shelter at Lair 'o' the Bear Park

Memorials

Legal fees, back taxes, etc. for land and easement donations

Jeffco Open Space Foundation, Inc. - Photo Contest 2011 - winners. Jeffco Open Space Foundation, Inc. - Photo Contest 2011 - winners. Jeffco Open Space Foundation, Inc. - Photo Contest 2011 - winners. Jeffco Open Space Foundation, Inc. - Photo Contest 2011 - winners. Jeffco Open Space Foundation, Inc. - Photo Contest 2011 - winners. Beginning in 2009, the Foundation began paying the Field Trip costs for Jefferson County Elementary and Middle Schools with 40% or more attendees on free or reduced lunch fees. To date more than $13,000 has been spent for trips to Lookout Mountain Nature Center, Hiwan Homestead Museum, Majestic View Nature Center (Arvada), Bear Creek Lake Park (Lakewood), and Dinosaur Ridge. The feedback from teachers, students, and staff at the parks for this program has been enthusiastic.

In 2009, the Foundation Board began looking for an activity that would raise the profile of both the Open Space Program and the Foundation. And, if it made money, that also was fine. Many events were considered, finally settling on a photo contest. The photo contest was held between October 2010 and March 2011. Entries were received from 190 individuals (30 youth). Entries came from all counties of the metro area plus St Louis, MO and Westfield, NJ.

The categories for the photos were: Wonderful Wildlife, Spectacular Scenery, and People in the Parks. As one would expect, Spectacular Scenery had the most entries, both adult and youth. Open Space’s most highly used park, Crown Hill, was the subject of the most entries. Twenty-three County parks were subjects of the photos along with six city parks partially acquired or developed using Open Space funds.

The Foundation plans to repeat the contest this year.

Here are some of the winning photos (click to enlarge).

All of the winning photos are on the Foundation web site:

www.jeffcoopenspace.org

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