Big changes are likely coming to south Golden if a proposal to transfer the former Heritage Square site and about 75 acres of land to its south comes to fruition. On Jan. 21, the Golden Planning …
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The proposed land swap between Jefferson County and Martin-Marietta materials calls for Jefferson County to receive the former Heritage Square site and about 75 acres of land to its south, plus a total of $4.55 million. In return, Martin-Marietta would receive a 64-acre portion of Matthews/Winters Park to the south of its existing mine to continue mining operations. That portion would also be given back to JCOS upon completion of mining in about 20-30 years.
JCOS is currently planning to put the Heritage Square site, which it has deemed unsuitable for it to redevelop, up for sale to a developer. It is planning to use the proceeds of the sale to fund new open space purchases elsewhere in the county. Martin-Marietta is currently in the process of trying to rezone the property at Matthews/Winter Park to allow for mining. If that rezoning is approved, the transfer will likely happen by the end of the year.
More information about the proposed Heritage Square exchange can be found at www.jeffco.us/3810/Heritage-Square-Exchange.
Big changes are likely coming to south Golden if a proposal to transfer the former Heritage Square site and about 75 acres of land to its south comes to fruition.
On Jan. 21, the Golden Planning Commission met with the leaders of Jefferson County Open Space to learn about about its vision for how new trails and open space offerings could ultimately result from that transfer.
JCOS Deputy Director Hillary Merritt showed a concept the county has created for new trails to be constructed on the property east of Colfax Avenue and Heritage Square that is currently home to the Rooney Road recycling center and soccer fields, which would be dubbed Tin Cup Ridge Park.
Among those trails would be one that would connect that property to both the Bachman Farms property, which JCOS would receive and give to the city of Golden as part of the proposed transfer, and Apex Park. That trail would involve a crossing over Colfax Avenue and extend to the dinosaur parking lots south of the property.
The concept also calls for the addition of a new slash recycling site at Tin Cup Ridge Park, which is used for recycling materials like tree limps, shrubs and other yard waste, and a reconfiguration of the soccer fields.
However, one thing that likely won’t result is a near trail paralleling Colfax Avenue in the area — at least not in some sections.
JCOS Director Tom Hoby said the proposed land transfer also includes an easement that could allow JCOS to construct a new bike and walking trail along Colfax Avenue adjacent to the Heritage Square and neighboring Martin Marietta materials mine.
But JCOS Director Tom Hoby said the presence of the mine would make it difficult to build a usable trail alongside it.
“It doesn’t seem like a very viable option at this point because of the ingress and egress with trucks,” said Hoby. “We’ve looked to see if we could get a logical point to go under or over those points in egress and its probably one of those things where we could do it but we are not sure people would use them and that would put people at risk.”
The trail through Tin Cup Ridge Park could serve as an alternative to a trail along that stretch of Colfax, he said. That trail could then realign with Colfax at the dinosaur lots and eventually extend to the Dakota Ridge and Matthews/Winters trails, providing a new connection between those trails and the Apex Park.
Other open space projects
During the meeting, Golden Planning Commissioner Patty Evans asked Hoby whether the revenue generated by the swap and eventual sale of Heritage Square would be earmarked specifically for purchases within the Golden area given that Golden residents would be most affected by the loss of property at Matthews/Winters. Hoby answered that they probably would not be, and would instead go into a general fund for new acquisitions.
However, Hoby said JCOS is currently eyeing several possible land purchases in the Golden area, including the remaining 400 acres owned by Leo Bradley on South Table Mountain.
Longer-term, JCOS would also like to explore the possible of a new trail connection from the Jeffco light rail station at the Jeffco government center to Tin Cup Ridge Park and other trails to the south, Hoby said. Such a trail connection, which he envisions as being along but separate from Rooney Road, would encourage people to take the light rail to access trails in Jeffco.
“One of the things we are challenged with is parking at our trail heads — and yet we have this regional light rail center and 3,000 parking spaces on the county campus,” he said. “If we could get people to start taking light rail and we could have the trail connectivity or maybe even a shuttle bus that we could operate with RTD, we might have a legitimate shot at the future of having multimodal access to our parks.”
Along those same lines, another option would be to partner with RTD on some kind of shuttle bus that could transport people between trails and to the light rail.
“It’s probably a half-hour loop to get from North Table all the way down to Bear Creek Lake Park and so forth,” he said. “We are definitely interested in the trail connectivity as either people could get to these on a bicycle or some kind of shuttle bus.”
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