BY FREDA MIKLIN
On September 9, Arapahoe County Open Spaces (ACOS) held its annual Shareback and Competitive Grant Award Ceremony, where it announced competitive grants awarded to cities, towns and special districts from funds generated by the county’s 0.25% sales tax, in addition to the approximately $19 million that it shares back directly with local governments. All receipts from this small sales tax, which was made permanent by a vote of Arapahoe County residents in 2021, are dedicated solely to parks, trails and open spaces projects
Twelve percent of the revenue generated by the tax is used for the ACOS competitive grant program. Grant requests are evaluated by a board of local residents appointed by county commissioners. Competitive grants awarded this year went to 12 cities, towns, and special districts. They ranged from $15,000 to $500,000, and totaled $5 million, which will be matched by $3.3 million in local government funds.
Nancy Jackson, chair of the Board of County Commissioners of Arapahoe County, said that the awards, “celebrate the power of partnerships in improving the communities we serve,” adding, “Together with our agency partners, we can do more and be more for the people of Arapahoe County then we could ever do on our own. Our residents depend on our outdoor spaces for physical and mental health, and I hope these funds will enable our partners to keep critical projects moving forward.”