Cherry Hills Land Preserve presents the 2023 Annual Plan for Quincy Farm

BY FREDA MIKLIN
STAFF WRITER

On September 6, the Cherry Hills Village City Council received a presentation of the detailed draft of the 2023 Annual Plan of the Cherry Hills Land Preserve (CHLP) for Quincy Farm (QF). CHV residents filled the council chamber. 

City Manager Chris Cramer began the discussion by reminding the council of the requirement in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the city and CHLP for Quincy Farm that requires that CHLP, in collaboration with city staff, prepare an annual plan by July 31 for the following calendar year that contains:

  • A list of programs and activities for the coming year.
  • A budget that specifies the amount CHLP will contribute toward fulfilling the coming year’s plan.
  • Any requests for funds by CHLP from CHV.
  • A list of possible grants that could be pursued.

Cramer opened the discussion by telling the city council, prior to CHLP’s presentation, that “staff is recommending approval of the annual plan” that will be officially presented to the city council during its regular meeting two weeks hence on September 20.  He also noted that the draft plan had been submitted to Colorado Open Lands (COL) the previous week, but that they had not yet responded. Colorado Open Lands is the nonprofit land trust that ensures that the requirements of specific conservation easements, including the one that was placed on Quincy Farm by its original owner, Cat Anderson, during her lifetime, are followed.

Linda Behr, president of CHLP, introduced Dr. Harold Skramstad, CHLP advisor, who said that the goal of the planning process was, “To provide educational experiences at Quincy Farm that inspire curiosity in learning about the natural and historical heritage of the local area, so Quincy Farm becomes an integral part of the educational and recreational infrastructure of the City of Cherry Hills Village and a source of ongoing community pride.”

He noted that programming will occur on the east side of the property and the west side “will be developed as more of a natural area with very close attention paid to stimulating a variety of first-hand experiences with nature.” 

Notwithstanding those distinctions, Skramstad pointed out that, even though it is divided into two separate sides in the conservation easement, “Quincy Farm must be developed as an integrated and unitary site so that the historical and natural landscape assets that define it will strengthen each other, rather than just be seen as separate elements.”

This is a list of programs Cherry Hills Land Preserve has planned for Quincy Farm in 2023.

The 2023 Annual Plan, he told the city council, was guided by the conservation easement, which talks about “providing education and recreation and maintaining open space, while enhancing natural areas and maintaining historical heritage.” 

He explained that the plan also took into account the historical values of QF, as they had been outlined in the submission to the National Register years earlier, which resulted in the property being included there. 

Finally, Skramstad pointed to the practical issue of financial sustainability, stating plainly, “No one wants it to become a money pit.” He expanded on that thought with, “The kind and the type of experiences at QF (will) drive priorities for maintenance, repairs, and capital improvements.”

Consulting attorneys David Foster of Foster, Graham Milstein & Calisher, LLP, and Rick Johnson of Johnson & Repucci, LLP, were introduced next to speak on the conservation easement as it relates to open public access to the property.  

Foster pointed out that COL did not need to approve the plan for QF. Johnson told the city council that CHV can allow public access and uses in all areas of QF, west and east, and was only “constrained by not violating the conservation values of this easement.”

Kathy Fessler, executive director of CHLP, presented a list of 18 programs planned for QF in 2023, including a three-session beekeeping discussion with Master Beekeepers Joe and Debbie Komperda. She shared that the beekeeping program put on this summer was attended by interested beekeepers from ages five to 70. She also noted that, in addition to beekeeping, programs that have been held this summer included bringing in goats, a trail walk, and bird walks.

Judith Judd, CHLP’s development chair, told the city council, “Our goal is to make Quincy Farm financially sustainable.” She pointed to the importance of the city council allowing public access to both the east and west sides of QF in achieving sustainability, noting that CHLP had already received reliable pledges in excess of $100,000 for QF, contingent upon “regular and sustained and substantial public access to the property.”   

Judd shared that CHLP had already invested $100,000 in QF and that they had determined they would have to raise that amount annually “just to run that property for the city and for our fellow citizens,” adding that CHLP was committed to and confident that they could do so. Judd presented the 2023 QF budget, which showed that total 2023 operating costs for QF of $89,950 would come from CHLP exclusively and they anticipated that CHLP would pay $37,650 of anticipated capital costs of $87,200, with the city paying $49,550 of those costs. In total, CHLP would contribute $127,600 to the 2023 QF budget and the city would contribute $49,550. It was noted that the allocation of costs between CHLP and the city had been negotiated with the city manager. The costs that were proposed to be picked up by CHV were primarily for construction documents for repairing the barn where programs would take place and signs on the property.

Mayor Stewart and all the members of the city council expressed their appreciation to CHLP for their tireless efforts in meeting the requirements of the MOU, including completing the plan for QF and raising the funds necessary to implement it within the values outlined in the conservation easement that Cat Anderson created to reflect her vision for this property.

fmiklin.villager@gmail.com