Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wise decision on Rock Creek Ranch

    I heartily applaud the Blaine County commissioners for granting conceptual approval to the Rock Creek Ranch project using Land, Water and Wildlife funds.
    This is a wise decision and everyone should know about it. This is exactly the type of project envisioned when the levy was first conceived. The Land, Water and Wildlife funds have guidelines that were put in place to ensure that expectations for what it would take to spend the levy money were well known and well understood. Blaine County correctly put these safeguards in place so that we as taxpayers would know our money was well spent. This project, as currently constructed, meets all those guidelines. So it passes the first threshold.
    But further, this project is a phenomenal value for the residents of Blaine County. To be able to acquire the Rock Creek Ranch at a fraction of its real value demonstrates the hard work of all the partners involved. The project has a great amount of leverage, including funding from state and federal agencies and a significant, generous landowner donation. We are investing $1.1 million of the levy funds for unmatched quality recreation, wildlife habitat, and water.
    I remember back in the height of the building boom when a subdivision was contemplated for the Rock Creek Ranch. Under current zoning, about 180 homes could be built; and on this priceless piece of land that is 180 too many.
    When we all voted “Yes” to pass the levy in 2008, I never dared dream that we could protect a parcel of this magnitude and importance. This is the project that makes us all feel good about why we voted “Yes” in 2008. Thank you, Blaine County commissioners, for supporting this significant project.
Carol P. Brown


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