White Acres: Developer, City Parks talking again

       A deal is in the works that could prevent homebuilding on White Acres.
       “In the last couple of weeks, we've had very productive discussions with the Parks Department,” Paul Howard of Infinity Land Corp. told City Council at its formal meeting Feb. 10. He coupled the statement with a request to postpone his petition to annex White Acres to the city, which would have been the necessary first step toward a future housing development.
       City Council approved a two-week postponement.
       White Acres is the name of a scenic hillside property, roughly 46 acres in size, south of city-owned Red Rock Canyon Open Space and west of the five-way intersection of 26th Street/Bear Creek Road, Wheeler Avenue and Gold Camp/Lower Gold Camp Road. The land was a gift from the White family decades ago to the Westside's Bethany Baptist Church, but financial difficulties led the congregation to seek money for the land (whether through developing or selling to the city) and to make Infinity the church's partner.
       Open-space advocates have been pushing to “save White Acres,” if possible, as a logical addition to Red Rock Canyon. However, initial negotiations between the city and Infinity/ Bethany had broken off without a deal.
       After the Feb. 10 council meeting, Chris Lieber, City Parks manager of development and the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) program, confirmed that negotiations with Infinity have resumed. “The owner has significantly lowered the price,” he said. “In addition, the owner has expressed a willingness to consider terms that would enable the TOPS program to consider purchasing the property over several years.”
       Previously, city officials had worried that buying White Acres would take so much money from TOPS sales tax revenues that it would impair announced efforts to eventually buy the 640-acre Section 16 property - also south of Red Rock Canyon - which it is leasing now as open space.
       The new terms being considered for White Acres “would allow the majority of the TOPS fund balance to remain available for Section 16 over the next couple of years,” Lieber said.

Westside Pioneer article