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Open Space Initiative
picture 1.jpgOpen Space Initiative - Preserving Our Western Heritage
 "Not since Cave Creek Residents overwhelmingly voted to tax themselves to protect the more than 2,000 acre spur cross ranch conservation area, has an opportunity like this come along. It may never come along again.”
Cave Creek Mayor, Vincent Francia
More than five years in the making, the Town of Cave Creek is only a few months away from preserving over 4,000 acres of prime Sonoran Desert habitat. Much of the land is adjacent to two County Parks - Cave Creek Regional Park and the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area.

Thanks to a groundbreaking agreement with the State Land Department and the Governor’s Selection Committee, nearly 6,000 acres of State Trust Land will be annexed by the Town and made available for purchase. A 2,000 acre portion of the land will be zoned for higher density or commercial development in exchange for establishing the land the Town of Cave Creek wants to preserve as open space. The Town will hold public hearings and obtain final approval of the Town Council for the annexation. Approval should be complete by June 2009.

Once the process is completed, the State Land Department will auction the annexed land. Since the proposed 4,000 acres of conservation lands will be zoned for conservation purposes and cannot be developed, it is expected that developers will have no interest in acquiring these parcels and the Town will be the successful bidder.

Lands Value
The Town will have a maximum of 20 years to purchase the 4,000 acres from the State Land Department. After a thorough real estate appraisal, it was determined that the value of the conservation lands was an stoundingly low $400 to $500 per acre.

This low figure was due primarily to the fact that the land can only be used for conservation or low-impact recreational purposes. Although the total acquisition costs are estimated to be between $1.55 to $2 million, the Town qualifies for funding assistance from the Growing Smarter Initiative passed by voters in 1998. This initiative provides matching funds for public or non-profit agencies to acquire State Trust Land for open space. That still leaves approximately $750,000 to $1,000,000 that the Town needs to raise to secure protection of these valuable lands.

Citizen’s Advisory Group
The Open Space Citizens Advisory Group was assembled by the Town of Cave Creek’s mayor and Town Council to develop a plan for the acquisition and use of the new open space. The Citizen’s Advisory Group is a combination of Town residents, parks and recreation representatives and area conservationists. The vision of the Citizens Advisory Group is to protect our unique Sonoran Desert through conservation and preservation, for the enjoyment of current and future generations. In the months ahead, the Citizen’s Advisory Group will celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve over six-square miles of living desert with various outings and fundraising activities.

Get Involved in the effort!

Be Part of FORCEDesertFoothillsLandTrustGreenLogo.jpg
Friends of Recreation Conservation and the Environment (FORCE) is a joint effort and partnership with the Desert Foothills Land Trust. DFLT is acting as the fiduciary agent for all funds being raised for this initiative. DFLT is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Donations to F.O.R.C.E. will be used soley for the purchase of State Trust Land to be set aside as permanent open space and may be tax deductible depending upon the donor's particular tax situation.