Most of the development you see in the Town of Castle Rock was made way for decades ago, when former Town leaders determined how various areas would be developed, as private landowners pursued annexation and zoning.
While property owners are legally entitled to develop their land based on approved uses, the Town looks for opportunities to preserve land for public use. Several recent investments have been made to preserve property previously zoned for development for public use instead.
In 2019, Town Council approved the $525,000 purchase of 7.6 acres from Southwest Greens for the purpose of future park development. Just north of Emerald Drive, the site sits adjacent to Plum Creek Golf Club.
One tract of this land was zoned for residential single-family development. Instead, the entire property will be preserved as a public park. Work is currently underway, and the $4.6 million park is expected to be completed in 2024. Amenities will include playgrounds with a shade structure, plumbed restrooms, bocce ball courts, half-court basketball, pickleball courts and a looped concrete path. Learn more at CRgov.com/ParkImprovements.
Metzler Family Open Space
Town Council accepted a land donation from the Estate of Robert F. Metzler in 2021. His family was among the first settlers who helped establish Castle Rock. The gift consists of approximately 60 acres of property, including a homestead, and is among the largest land donations the Town has ever received.
The property was originally zoned for residential and commercial development. Instead, the majority will remain designated open space. The Town has already completed the first phase of improvements, which included constructing 4 miles of native-surface, single-track trails and parking spaces. Find more about the property at CRgov.com/MetzlerOpenSpace.
Earlier this year, the Town purchased the historic Cantril School from the Douglas County School District for $3.5 million. The District had declared the property as “surplus,” allowing its sale on the open market.
The property is zoned multi-family residential and single-family duplex residential. Given its historic significance, the Town acquired the school to preserve it and ensure it remains a public facility — and also to preclude any residential development on the surrounding land. The Town is currently holding arts and enrichment classes and programming and making some improvements at the building. Visit CRgov.com/CantrilSchool for more information.
Lost Canyon Ranch
Pursuing opportunities to purchase land zoned for residential development to preserve for public use and/or designated open space continues to be a priority for Town Council and Town staff.
The Town is working with The Conservation Fund to acquire approximately 680 acres of open space known as Lost Canyon, bordering eastern Castle Rock. The Town has set aside $4.75 million in its 2024 Budget for this purpose. More details are to come next year.
The Town is excited to be able to provide these and future public properties for the community to enjoy.
David L. Corliss is the town manager of Castle Rock