City may expand Carpenter area

Bike and hiking trails on 81 acres would be phased in 2014-2016

Cortez Journal/Jim Mimiaga

A prickly pear bloom gets pollinated by a bee in the Carpenter Natural Area. Enlargephoto

Cortez Journal/Jim Mimiaga A prickly pear bloom gets pollinated by a bee in the Carpenter Natural Area.

The city of Cortez wants to annex 81 acres east of the industrial park to extend the Carpenter Natural Area.

Sixty acres of the proposed annexation would be designated as open space for additional bike and hiking trails. According to city officials, expanding recreational opportunities of the current 76-acre Carpenter Natural Area would contribute to the health and well being of the community.

“The staff recommends approval of the annexation,” said City Manager Shane Hale. “It will benefit the city.”

The city acquired the 81-acre property from Four Corners Materials. Pending approval, infrastructure construction could start in August. A June 24 public hearing has been scheduled.

If approved, the city has a three-phase plan for the Carpenter Natural area expansion. Phase I would include the addition of a 1.5-mile trail from the existing parking lot. Officials hope to complete Phase I this year.

Phase II includes a trail to a 9-acre pond on the property. Junior water rights to the proposed Marine Life Resort Reservoir have been assigned to the city, but officials said the pond would not be filled until the fall because of the high demand for water downstream. Phase II would be completed next year, and Phase III, which includes an additional 3.5 miles of trails, would likely be completed in 2016.

Paul Adams of Kokopelli Bike and Board in Cortez is helping city officials develop the new trail system, which would consist of novice and intermediate routes.

Candace Pranter, a neighbor of the proposed annexation, told city planning officials last month that she approved the measure.

The remaining 20 acres proposed in the annexation would be subdivided for industrial lots, enhancing the city’s economic development opportunities.

Hale said none of the subdivided industrial lots would be used for heavy industrial use, and any new industrial operations on the proposed site would be subject to a public hearing.

Montezuma County commissioners have supported the annexation proposal, pending a road-impact study by the city.