Adams County 2021 Open Space Sales Tax Report

History of the Open Space Sales Tax

The Open Space Sales Tax was approved by Adams County voters in 1999 as a 1/3 of one percent sales tax authorized through 2006. In 2004, voters approved an increase to ¼ of one percent, or 25 cents on a $100 purchase, and extended the sales tax through 2026.  In 2020, Adams County voters approved a resolution to reauthorize the Open Space Sales Tax in perpetuity.

Proceeds from the sales tax benefit parks, recreation, trails and open space projects countywide.

 Funds are distributed in three ways: 

  • 2% is allocated to administration costs
  • 30% is distributed back to the jurisdiction where the tax was generated
  • 68% is awarded through a competitive grant program

The Open Space Advisory Board, a seven-member board appointed by the Board of County Commissioners, reviews all grant applications and makes recommendations for funding to the Board of County Commissioners. The current 2021 Open Space Advisory Board Members are: Mark Stickel (Chair), Doug Cuillard (Vice-Chair), Paul Weinrauch, Christy Dowling, Cynde Barnes, Edwin Hickel and Michael Koslow.

The Board of County Commissioners makes the final decision on all grant applications.  From 2000 to 2021, the Open Space Sales Tax has contributed more than $214,000,000 into parks, recreation, trails, and open space projects throughout Adams County.   

33 grants were funded in the fall 2020 and spring 2021 grant cycles. The projects will improve trail connectivity, provide outdoor learning space for students at schools throughout the county, and preserve over 132 acres of park and open space land.

Open Space Sales Tax Grant Distribution (approximately 68 percent of funds)

From the fall of 2020 to the spring of 2021, the Open Space Sales Tax Program allocated $13,750,667.23 to the following projects (click on photos to enlarge):

Adams County

Steele Street Park Expansion
Grant Award: $975,000
Acquisition of 16 acres directly adjacent to Steele Street Park. This acquisition stands to provide a range of amenities to the neighborhood including sports fields, natural areas, and an improved trailhead.

Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes Park Water Quality
Grant Award: $50,000
This award will fund an aeration system in the larger lake at Twin Lakes Park. This lake has seen increasingly large algae blooms in recent years. These blooms are unsightly, can give off offensive odors, and have harmful effects on the aquatic life in the lake. An aeration system will help minimize algae blooms and mitigate their effects, creating a more pleasant experience for park users and better conditions for wildlife.

AC Water Efficiency
Grant Award: $100,000
This funding will help to perform major upgrades to irrigation throughout the Adams County park system. This will involve a series of replacements to sensors, controllers and other equipment that will make the system more responsive and water-efficient, while allowing Parks, Open Space and Cultural Arts staff to access and control the system from anywhere.

Riverdale BluffsRiverdale Bluffs Trail System
Grant Award: $750,000
Development of visitor amenities at the County’s Riverdale Bluffs Open Space. This property was purchased ion 2010 and has been available for recreation, but currently there are no trails, signage, restroom facilities, or shelters, and there is only minimal parking. Adams County wishes to develop Riverdale Bluffs into an accessible open space, connected to the rest of the County system and beyond, while maintaining wildlife habitat and scenic values.

Sheriffs MemorialAdams County Sheriff’s Memorial
Grant Award: $5,000
This project will provide a dedicated space at the Adams County Government Center honoring Adams County Deputies who have lost their lives. This funding is for the design of the Memorial Wall.




Barr Lake State Park

Barr LakeLake Appreciation Day 2021
Grant Award: $1,960
The 15th annual Barr Lake Appreciation Day was held July 10, 2021. One of the main purposes of this event is to bring public awareness to water quality issues that face our lakes and waterways including the importance of keeping Barr Lake free of debris and dangerous obstacles that may harm mammals, birds and waterfowl that frequent the lake. In 2020, even with Covid-19 related restrictions 93 volunteers participated. Volunteers work on projects throughout the park followed by lunch and educational activities which include archery, boat rides and crafts.

City of Aurora

Highline Canal Trail Construction
Grant Award: $500,000
The High Line Canal is a 71-mile-long utility which has served as a water delivery system for over 100 years. Since the canal's original function of supplying water to settlers and farmers along its entire length, it has become a historical front range landmark and a beloved recreational greenway. This project involves construction of the High Line Canal Trail from East Colfax Avenue to I-70 near Tower Road. This is one of the last segments of the High Line Canal in Aurora that does not have a hard surface trail. It will provide a safe, convenient, grade separated crossing of I-70 for pedestrians and bicyclists. The proposed concrete trail will be 1.8 miles in length between East Colfax Avenue and I-70.

City of Brighton

High School Senior Beautification Project @ Elmwood Cemetery
Grant Award: $5,000
A 2020 storm uprooted 34 mature trees at the Elmwood Cemetery. The trees provided shade for families visiting their loved ones at the cemetery. Brighton High School Seniors first approached the City of Brighton to do a beautification project instead of participating in the traditional “Senior Ditch Day” in 2012. They planted trees at Carmichael Park. The project was so successful that Senior classes have now held eight planting projects within the City. Unfortunately, the project in 2020 was canceled due to Covid-19 restrictions.  This project marked the tenth anniversary of this collaboration between Brighton High School Seniors and the City of Brighton.

Historical Splendid Valley Property One
Grant Award: $2,500,000
The grant from Adams County Open Space will enable The Conservation Fund to capitalize on the current opportunity to purchase the 116-acre farming property and 115 ditch water shares. This project preserves yesterday's farming heritage and tomorrow's need for land to grow food, while providing important conservation benefits in this rapidly developing Brighton area. The conservation values associated with HSV Target Property #1 include agricultural production and heritage, open space with scenic views, critical water rights, community separation, and recreational trail connections. The farm has some of the most fertile soils in the state, classified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as prime farmland. These soils are irreplaceable and enable food crop production that supports the local economy and provides a source of healthy and affordable food. The HSV Target Property #1 farm is a central piece in the effort to conserve a contiguous block of farmland on Brighton's southern boundary, preserving an agricultural gateway that defines the City of Brighton.

Founders Plaza Park Phase Two
The Plaza will become an iconic gateway into Brighton that enhances Downtown with creatively flexible event spaces and public art that provides shade and pleasant vistas. Founders Plaza, located at Bridge Street and South Main Street is entering phase two. This phase includes the removal of the existing gravel areas to allow for new amenities. Two shade structures will be installed to match the existing shade structure, a flexible stage area with varying finishes of enhanced concrete patterned in an agricultural theme to allow for performances and movable seating.

City of Commerce City

Turnberry ParkTurnberry Park Skate Spot
Grant Award: $92,500
Turnberry Park is 9.5 acres in size and was competed in 2016 as a part of the city’s 2K ballot initiative. The Park includes playground with elements for both 2-5 and 5-12 year old’s, a large shelter, a multi-use sports court, two open grassy multipurpose fields, a perimeter path, and a restroom. Per community input and direction from City Council, a 4,500 square foot skate "spot" has been designed and was proposed as an additional park amenity.

Monaco ParkMonaco Park Renovation Phase One
Grant Amount: $960,000
Monaco Park, built in 1973, had not had any significant improvements aside from irrigation replacement in the last 20 years. This project will completely renovate this 9-acre park. The scope of work contains many components and this grant will focus on Phase One of two phases. Monaco Park has been an important gathering place and recreational destination for city residents and visitors for nearly 50 years, and over the last year it has seen even more use. Phase One will create an overall master plan, install an inclusive playground, add accessible connections into and through the park, replace shelters and begin updating pedestrian lighting. A future Phase Two will replace the basketball court, widen perimeter sidewalks, enhance landscaping, complete pedestrian lighting, and activate the southern part of the park.

City of Federal Heights

90th Avenue Tree Planting
Grant Award: $100,730
The City of Federal Heights and the Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District (Hyland Hills) are partnering together to replace dead and/or dying trees along 90th Avenue, Pecos Street, Messina Park, and City Hall. The mature landscaping that invites residents and guests into Water World and City Hall has been plagued by the emerald ash bore and are in need of a dedicated effort to remove and replace trees that are dying, replace trees that have already been removed, and filling in gaps in the tree canopy.

City of Northglenn

Jaycee ParkJaycee Park Ballfield Improvements
Grant Award: $170,000
The "Jaycee Park Ballfield Improvements" project comprises major electrical service upgrade, replacement of the existing ballfield lighting with a new, more efficient LED light structure system that meets modern standards, and rehabilitation of the scorekeepers' booth at Jaycee Park - home to Northglenn's only lit softball/baseball field. In addition, the project includes a new Level II dual-port electric vehicle charging station in the parking lot, which is shared by the Bill Goodspeed Happy Tails Dog Park. The improvements will enhance the recreational amenities to users of all ages and abilities and demonstrate the City 's commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability.

Northglenn Trails and WaterwaysSustainable Path to Northglenn’s Trails and Waterways
Grant Award: $5,000
"A Sustainable Path to Northglenn's Trails and Waterways" project will assist in alleviating the urban pressure exerted on the City's watershed areas through the planting of purposefully-selected native and hardy trees along the Farmers' Highline Canal, Grange Hall Creek, and the Tuck Lateral corridors. The aging tree canopy on these waterways, adjacent to the associated trails, has been significantly impacted in recent years. Northglenn welcomes and encourages the use of the community's natural areas, and with increased population and active lifestyles comes the increased need for maintenance of free access to healthy waterway trails. This effort will take care to dig tree wells further from the ditch banks and closer to the trails so that even at full maturity water flow would not be impeded or excess water demand created. Over 200 trees will be planted and aid in restoration of more than 100 acres of open space without creating a dense vegetation wall or blocking line of sight. As a Tree City USA for the past 31 years, and in close partnership with local and regional civic groups, Northglenn is dedicating its staff to this project to obtain nursery bids and complete the tree procurement process, coordinate volunteers and leaders on precise locations and best practices, ensure longevity of all plantings, and continue the trail systems’ inclusion in school curricula.

City of Thornton

Pollinator Habitat ProjectPollinator Habitat Project
Grant Award $5,000
Funding from this mini grant would help provide four pollinator habitats in the form of public art installations and pollinator gardens.  The Thornton Arts, Sciences and Humanities Council (TASHCO) is commissioning public art in the form of pollinator structures to provide shelter for a specific pollinator species that will be installed in pollinator gardens located in each city ward.  The selected artist will research, design, build and install species-specific structures, including public information signs. City staff will work with the artist to identify plants that support the design of each habitat then select, plant, and maintain the space in the pollinator garden surrounding each habitat.


Replacement of Active Outdoor Sports Facilities
Grant Award: $1,029,977
This award will fund construction of four projects that are replacing and enhancing Active Outdoor Sports Facilities.  These include two basketball courts, a tennis court, and a skatepark/pumptrack hybrid.  Resurfacing/Replacement of Community Park Basketball Court and Yorkborough Tennis Court projects were completed this year.  Replacement of Lu Murray Basketball Court and Community Park Skatepark/Pumptrack are currently in design and planning phase and will begin construction this fall and will be completed in spring 2021.  These projects are in original Thornton and help keep facilities up to date, safe, and inviting for the public.

Community Park BasketballSkate Park

Skylake RangeSkylake Ranch Open Land Improvements
Grant Award: $518,000
This grant will help fund design and construction of passive recreation improvements to Skylake Ranch Open Land, a city-owned parcel that was part of an abandoned farm reservoir with surrounding trees and vegetation.  The city requested ownership of the land as partial satisfaction for development’s public land dedication because it was shown on version of the parks & Open Space Master Plan as desirable for preservation.  The property is the entrance to a now well-established 2001 neighborhood.  Improvements are planned tin include soft surface paths, gathering pavilion, site furniture with lighting, open space plantings, weed control and signage.

Grange Hall CreekGrange Hall Creek Park Rehabilitation
Grant Award: $985,489
This award helps fund rehabilitation design and construction of the 16.1-acre Grange Hall Creek Park. Built in 1985, the project will create an inclusive park including replacement of the playground (last updated in 1999), half basketball court and pedestrian bridge. Other improvements will include addition of shade shelter(s), site furniture and a landscape design to follow “Naturally Thornton” concepts that replace 'looking bluegrass' on slopes with native grass and habitat shrub plantings. The non-potable irrigation pond requires evaluation and rehab to improve water quality and retention. Other recreational amenities will be considered based on public input and budget.

MCRC PoolCarpenter Recreation Center Renovations
Grant Award: $1,711,909
The Carpenter Recreation Center aquatic facilities are being replaced and expanded. Aquatic facility improvements include a new lap pool, wave pool, activity pool, lazy river, NINJACROSS installation, family locker rooms, party rooms, hot tub, sauna, steam room, and relocated pre-school playground. In addition to the aquatic facilities, the basketball court floor as well as the entire HVAC system are being replaced as part of the project.

Stocking Fish Growth for Anglers
Grant Award: $5,000
Thornton was awarded this grant for the third year in a row. This funding will help double Thornton’s fish stacking budget, allowing stocking of more Thornton lakes and ponds. Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommended additional fish stocking to continue for several years as the budgets allows, until Colorado Parks and Wildlife can confirm that natural reproduction is successfully sustaining fish populations.

City of Westminster

Tri State Open Space
Grant Award: $402,500
The City of Westminster will acquire approximately 14.3 acres of the Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association's undeveloped campus at the southwest corner of 114th Avenue and Huron Street. This narrow parcel, much of which is floodplain, represents a wonderful opportunity for preservation of valuable ecosystem in Adams County. This acquisition will directly connect the Ranch Creek Open Space (3.58 acres) to the Westminster T-Ball Complex and Elm Tree Garden (6.47 acres). This acquisition will enable enhancements to local and regional trails in an area that currently lacks comprehensive trail access between existing parks and open space.

Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District

Clear Creek Valley Phase One
Grant Award: $285,000
This grant is for an active park development for the installation of two sand volleyball courts, four pickleball courts, a shade shelter with tables and benches, additional parking for park users and landscape restoration.

Waddell Park Improvements
Grant Amount $494,100
Improvements and renovations to the existing Donal G. Waddell Park located at Federal Boulevard and Boulder Turnpike (US 36) will include replacement of the existing playground equipment, park entry signage, upgrade of 3” to 4” water tap, renovations to the current irrigation system and changes to the turf.

Westminster Land Acquisition
Grant Award $658,800
This grant is requesting funds for the purchase of vacant land located at 120th Avenue and Federal Boulevard.  The future plans for the property will be to provide a recreational amenity that will be used by the public.  Hyland Hills has a reputation for providing first class parks and recreation and we believe this location will allow us to continue to provide a great facility for the community.

LuBird’s Light Foundation

LuBird’s All Inclusive Playground at Stanley Marketplace II
Grant Award: $150,000
Stanley Marketplace and the City of Aurora generously granted LuBird’s Light Foundation approximately 9,000 square feet of outdoor space to build their inaugural all-inclusive playground. A second grant was awarded to LuBird’s Light Foundation for additional expenses and price increases. An inclusive playground will give children and adults of all abilities the opportunity to engage in socialization and stimulation through play. Through carefully selected equipment, all children will have an opportunity to learn (while having fun!) in a safe and public space where everyone is welcomed.

Mapleton Public Schools

Rainbow Park at Monterey
Award Amount: $330,000
The award will support the construction of "Rainbow Park" which will include four tennis courts and a walking path complete with outdoor seating for a learning space and landing areas for exercise/additional play equipment at Monterey Community School. With the addition of the four tennis courts, it is our goal to bring more sporting events and spaces for recreation to the community.

Strasburg Metro Parks and Rec District

Community Park East Planning
Grant Amount: $36,085
The Community Park East Planning project is the next step in the development of the Wagner Street Land Acquisition. The project will ultimately establish a "recreational hub" within Strasburg, complete with amenities and facilities that the community has identified as top priorities. It will provide a complete connection between the School District campus and the Recreation District facilities. This grant will fund consultant services to prepare a schematic design and bidding package for Phase I of the construction plan.

Town of Bennett

Civic Center Park Conceptual Design Update
Grant Award $5,000
The Town of Bennett has a conceptual plan for Civic Center Park, however, in negotiations with the developer of Muegge Farms who dedicated additional acreage for the park, it was decided that there will eventually include an infiltration pond.  As such, the Town needs to update the conceptual plan to include the pond. Once concepts are updated the Town will be able to better phase the project and begin construction.

Bennett Community CenterCommunity Center Improvements
Grant Amount: $225,617.23
The funding for this project will go toward making improvements to the Bennett Community Center.  The improvements will include resurfacing and new lighting in the parking lot, kitchen renovations, and improvements to the playground.  The Bennett Community Center is often used for Town events for the community, community meetings, local classes, and meetings, as well as the location for important Adams County services in the Town.

Highway 79 Permanent Trail Construction
Grant Amount: $105,000
The trail that runs along Highway 70 through Bennett was installed as a temporary asphalt trail in 2008 by the developers responsible for the King Soopers in Bennett Market Place.  This trail has quickly become the backbone of the Town’s Adams County Trail system as it connects to many of the Town business districts, trails and parks.  At this time, the trail has been replaced with beautiful 8-foot-wide concrete trails. This award is for additional funds to complete the landscaping and add amenities along the trail.

Trupp ParkTrupp Park Phase V
Grant Award: $198,000
With support from Adams County Open Space the Town has made significant and much needed improvements to Trupp Park over the last six years. These improvements have included a new play ground, renovated playfields and skate and bicycle playground. Trupp Park is currently identified as the Town’s "community park" making it one of the Town's most highly utilized amenities. For this phase of the project the primary improvements will be the upper play field and the grand stand. These much needed improvements will help create a safe, healthy and functional community park.

Community Garden Expansion
Grant Award: $5,000
This project is to construct additional 5'x8' raised cedar garden beds for the Community Garden located in Civic Center Park. The Garden was originally constructed in 2020 with 6 raised cedar beds. The garden was a great success in the growing season of 2020 and the Town would like to increase the number of beds available to the community by adding an additional 6 beds. In addition, the Town has identified some additional modifications to the garden irrigation that will optimize watering efficiency in the garden.

How Jurisdictions Spent 30% Shareback in 2020

Background Data

Arvada Aurora Bennett Brighton Commerce
Northglenn Thornton Westminster  
Trails $94,685.00                   $94,686
Open Space $47,085.00   $30,712.00 $4,888.22 $204,600.00 $4,884.00 $16,797.00   $1,000,000.00 $700,000.00 $2,008,966.22
Parks & Recreation $124,533.00   $784,072.00 $44,024.04   $125,843.40   $9,877.00 $437,167.94   $1,525,517.38
Planning     $88,970.00         $19,324.00 $17,020.50   $125,314.50
Operations & Maintenance $73,969.00   $1,870.00   $137,302.53 $253,664.84   $270.00 $3,800.00   $470,876.37
  $340.272.00 $0.00 $905,624.00 $48,912.26 $341,902.53 $384,392.24 $16,797.00 $29,471.00 $1,457,988.44 $700,000.00 $4,225,359.47

Shareback Spending

Shareback Spending Chart

Trails $94,685.00
Open Space $2,008,966.22
Parks & Recreation $1,525,517.38
Planning $125,314.50
Operations & Maintenance $470,876.37