The sales and use tax is .17%, a part of the county’s 1% sales tax. This means when $100 of taxable goods and services are purchased in Douglas County, 17₵ goes to preserve and maintain parks, trails, and open space.
No, this is not a new tax. The Open Space Sales-and-Use tax was approved by voters in 1994. This is a continuation of the .17% tax that has gone towards the maintenance and acquisition of parks, trails, historic restoration, and open spaces.
Douglas County is one of several Metro Area counties with a sales tax dedicated to open space and parks, however ours is the lowest in the front range counties. For example, Jefferson County has a.50% tax rate and Boulder County has a .60% tax rate. This means for each $100 in taxable purchases, in Douglas County we pay 17₵ compared to Jefferson County residents paying 50₵ and Boulder County residents pays 60₵.
If this sales tax extension does not pass, then approximately 30% of funding for parks and 100% of open space funding will be eliminated. This will have a devastating effect on both programs.
The parks managed by Douglas County have three million annual visitors. This compares to the county’s estimated 2021 population of 368,900.
The department’s actual name is Douglas County Parks, Trails, and Building Grounds. They operate five regional parks (Bayou Gulch, Bluff Regional, Challenger, Fairgrounds, and Highlands Heritage) and eight local parks Bingham Lake, Chatfield East, DOTTs, Dupont, Perry Pines, Springer Park Silver Heights, The Pinery Park, and Whispering Pines).
No, neighborhood parks in new developments are built by the local developers. New parks the county will build that will be funded by this sales tax are large regional parks.
The county’s trail system includes the Bluff Regional Park, the Cherry Creek Regional Trail, the East/West Regional Trail, and parts of the High Line Canal Regional Trail.
The county will be involved in developing the Reuter-Hess recreation area and continued work on the High Line Canal. Maintenance, just like in your home, is important to parks and trails. These projects include trail resurfacing, tree planting, replacing picnic shelters, and playground equipment replacement.
Major funding for the department, approximately 30%, will end. This will create a challenge maintaining current parks and trails. Construction on new parks and trails to keep up with population growth will also be limited.
Douglas County has preserved over 64,000 acres of open lands. For comparison Highlands Ranch is 22,000 acres. There are an additional 40,000 acres of open lands identified as critical habitat which could be preserved.
Besides the sales tax, Douglas County has partnered with Great Outdoor Colorado, Colorado State Parks and Wildlife, the towns of Caste Rock, Parker, and Larkspur, private donors, and non-profit conservation organizations to preserve open space lands.
For every $1 the county has used to conserve open lands, our funding partners have provided nearly $3.
Open space lands are home to all types of animals such as songbirds, eagles, elk, and deer. Almost every animal you would see in Rocky Mountain National Park also lives on our Douglas County open space lands.
Historic preservation is place making through identification, evaluation, and conservation of components of the built environment that convey historic significance for the enjoyment and education of the community now and in the future.
Historic preservation is an important way for us to transmit our understanding of the past to future generations. Our nation’s history has many facets, and historic preservation helps tell these stories.
Cultural resources are tangible remains of past human activity. These may include buildings, structures, prehistoric sites, historic or prehistoric objects or collections, rock inscriptions, earthworks, canals, or landscapes. These nonrenewable resources may yield unique information about past societies and environments and provide answers for modern day social and conservation problems. Although many have been discovered and protected, there are numerous forgotten, undiscovered, or unprotected cultural resources in rural America.
Keeping cultural resources provide the basis for understanding our human past.
A curatorial repository is a permanent, nonprofit educational or research-oriented agency or institution, having professionally trained on-site staff, that provides housing and collections care in-perpetuity, to ensure long-term preservation and interpretation of these items. The Repository helps to preserve, interpret, and promote the natural and cultural inheritance of humanity in Colorado and work in close collaboration with the communities from which their collections originate as well as those they serve.
The Repository curates cultural materials, conserve collections, reference, services for scientific and educational use and public outreach.
The basic upkeep of care for the historic structures include pest control on a regular basis, grounds upkeep, and maintenance of the foundation, interior and exterior of the structures.
The historic preservation program and the repository are managed by one County staff person with support from volunteers and other County staff members.