The deadline for nominating properties for protection with conservation futures funds has been extended until April 9.
“The committee wanted to provide citizens with the best opportunity to nominate the crown jewels of the county,” said Steve Horobiowski, a planner with the Spokane County Parks and Recreation Department.
A series of meetings is planned to introduce nominated properties.
Meetings will start with discussion on properties in the immediate area. For example, the Mead Junior High meeting will begin with a discussion of North Side properties.
So far, 25 properties have been nominated throughout the county. Horobiowski said he expects another 20 will be entered before the deadline.
Properties nominated so far in the county range from 18 acres to 3,500 acres. City nominations ranged from one acre to 80 acres.
Here are some of the Valley properties that have been nominated:
About 400 acres on the north side of the Spokane River near Flora Road;
About 600 acres in the Newman Lake watershed;
A smaller piece at the outlet on the south side of Newman Lake;
About 200 acres at Liberty Lake, on the western slopes above the county park;
About 800 acres, known as Big Rocks, in the Iller Creek drainage has been renominated. The property made it to the priority list in 1994, but because of multiple owners, an agreement was never reached.
Any Spokane County resident may nominate property they think should be preserved because of its value for wildlife habitat, open space, shoreline area, or for hiking and nature study.
Slides, maps, the name and address of the property owner and details about the property are required for nomination.
Nominated properties will be reviewed and rated by a citizens committee made up of city and county residents.
The conservation futures tax was extended by voters last fall. There is currently $2.5 million in the bank. The county expects to collect just under $1 million annually during the next five years for a total of $7.5 million.
Properties that will be rated highest include those with wildlife habitat, those threatened by development or logging, those that provide a link to other open space, provide water access, and have widespread citizen support.
It also helps if the owner of the property is willing to sell.
The property must be presented at one of the scheduled public meetings.
The first meeting was held Wednesday at the Spokane downtown library and focused on property within the city limits.
Tours of the highest-rated properties will be scheduled May 31, June 5 and June 13.
On June 24, the citizens committee will develop a prioritized recommendation list and will present it to County Parks Advisory Committee June 25.
For more information, call Horobiowski at 456-4730.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: MEETINGS PLANNED Properties nominated for purchase with conservation futures funds will be introduced and discussed at these meetings: March 26: At 6:30 p.m. in the library at Mead Junior High, 12509 N. Market April 2, At 6:30 p.m. at Cheney High School, 460 N. Sixth St. April 9, At 6:30 p.m. at the Spokane County Parks and Recreation offices, N. 404 Havana.