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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane County Conservation Futures nominations revealed

The latest round of properties nominated for acquisition in the Spokane County Conservation Futures Program will be presented at a public meeting on Thursday at the Centerplace Regional Event Center, 2426 N. Discovery Pl. in Spokane Valley.

The eight-member Land Evaluation Committee eventually will review and prioritize a list of properties to be considered by the Board of Spokane County Commissioners for acquisition and protection as open space.

The meeting will begin with an open house and viewing of the 38 proposals from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. County Parks staff will make a presentation at 5:30 followed by a public comment period until 7.

The citizen committee will begin touring the nominated properties the following week, said John Bottelli, Spokane County Parks assistant director. Professional input to the committee includes habitat evaluations by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff.

The 2016 nominations can be previewed online at conservationfutures.

The Conservation Futures program is funded by a 4.67-cent tax on every $1,000 of assessed property value in Spokane County. Roughly $1.5 million in annual tax revenues is accrued for acquisitions. “It takes about five years to work through a list, giving us about $7.5 million to work with in a round,” Bottelli said.

The number of highly-rated nominations in a round always exceeds the amount of money available for acquisition, he said.

The last round of nominations was in 2010 when 36 properties were proposed. Seven of those properties have been acquired. Some of those nominations were resubmitted for 2016.

Acquisitions in 2015 included the 280-acre Trautman Property adjacent to Riverside State Park at Ninemile, and a 40-acre addition to the McKenzie Conservation area at Newman Lake.

Since 1994, the voter-approved Conservation Futures Program has paid $33.63 million to acquire 7,759 acres through more than 40 acquisitions owned and managed by Spokane County, City of Spokane and City of Cheney.

Rich Landers

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

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