City staff has provided access to a recently purchased IronHorse property near Barnes Butte and is now trying to develop potential uses for the site.
The city purchased the 460 acres of land in December for about $1.2 million. The land is attractive to the municipality because of the 305 acres of water rights it included as well as its potential for recreation, residential development and more.
The property is located just north of Barnes Butte Elementary School and extends north and east toward the nearby butte. It is comprised of one large chunk of land north of existing IronHorse residential development that borders 160 acres of BLM land to the east. The remainder of the city land includes two small blocks of land on the east side of the BLM property.
In late March, City Planner Eric Klann stated that the city should consider improving access to the property so that citizens will start to visit the land, explore it, and develop ideas on how they would like to see it used in the future. This includes removal of a house and barn on the property and a gravel extension of Combs Flat Road toward the site of the house.
"What we would propose is to go in and remove those, gravel that whole area as a parking lot, gravel the drive and what Scott (Smith, City Street Supervisor) said he would do is extend Combs Flat," Klann explained. "It would be a good way to get the public in there."
Those efforts have since moved forward.
"We have paved the road and removed the houses. We have done the parking lot," Klann said late last week.
So city staff is now turning its attention to determining how the public should make use of the property and has formed a group to help that effort.
"The city is in the process of developing a focus committee as to what we are going to do for or on the IronHorse property," Klann stated. "Right now, we are just trying to go through the basics."
Klann added that he has been providing tours of the property to interested parties and trying to encourage them to think about the land and how they might want to use it.
"We are going to end up having a meeting of the focus group on Sept. 26," he said. "I am thinking that sometime in October, we will have a grand opening event up there."