EDITORíS DESK: Red Rock: An evolving open space

       Whatever happened to the days when an open space was just scenic acreage where a person could go for a walk?
       It was obvious that times have changed at City Parks' latest public meeting on an updated master plan for Red Rock Canyon Open Space. The city opened the floor for citizen presentations, and several folks were ready! The new-usage ideas started with two disc golf representatives (merrily spinning discs out to the audience) followed by the proponents of a trail-practice horseback-riding area and more diverse technical facilities for bicyclists.
       And let's not forget the previous proposals to refill the man-made lake (unfortunately, there are no natural ones of any size) near the pavilion and even to build a visitor center with a gift shop to help fund the public property's operations.
       As pointed out by Chris Lieber of City Parks, more intensive kinds of development are allowable in certain areas of Red Rock Canyon because they were bought with conservation trust (lottery) money instead of revenues from the city's tenth-of-a-percent Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) sales tax. Some of these are at the north end of the 789-acre property, near Highway 24, which already has the bicycle Free Ride space, parking lots and picnic areas. Another such area is off 26th Street, near the one-time landfill road.
       For that matter, the landfill (now grass-covered) could itself become available for use by 2020 - the earliest date that its half-life for methane gas may finally be deemed complete. Or how about the 20-acre off-leash dog area, which was part of the original Red Rock master plan in 2004, but has never been a big hit? Most dog owners just bring their dogs with them on the regular trails. So could that area also be a candidate for being transformed into one of these neat new uses?
       What would help in future master plan meetings (as more than one person pointed out) would be for the city to provide maps showing what areas are available as well as their types of terrain. Such resources would allow participating citizens to provide more detailed feedback.

- K.J.