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Joint Press Release:
Valley Floor Preservation Partners &
Town of Telluride
For Release 4:00pm MDT, May 9, 2007

Contact: Hilary White, 970-728-8256,

TELLURIDE, Colo. The Telluride regional community sealed the deal today on one of the most important and pricey open space purchases in Western Colorado history.

Residents, second homeowners, business and government leaders combined their efforts to raise the $50 million needed to secure the Valley Floor, 570-acres of undeveloped meadows and wetlands right outside the town limits.

The property, long considered the gateway to this historic mining community, will now be protected from future development.

a^?oeThis is an incredible day in the history of Telluride,a^?? Telluride Mayor John Pryor said a^?oeYears of effort have culminated in the preservation of our community gateway in perpetuity. The vision and commitment of this community today will be remembered for generations to come. This parcel defines Telluride historically, culturally and ecologically. We should all be very proud.a^??

The effort was far reaching, netting contributions from more than 1,700 donors from around the county and the globe.

Valley Floor Preservation Partners (VFPP), the nonprofit set up to raise private donations succeeded at bringing in more than $16 million in the last 11 weeks in order to meet a court-ordered deadline. The group raised $24.5 million in donations over the last 15 months, a blistering pace by any fundraising standard.

Pryor and VFPP President Marla Croke, announced today that $50 million plus interest a^??h the private donations plus $25.5 million in local public funding a^??h are being deposited today with the Court, which will oversee the transfer of the property to the town government.

This action follows a lengthy eminent domain proceeding initiated by Telluride in 2004, following years of fruitless negotiations with the San Miguel Valley Corporation. The company has never hidden its intentions to intensely develop the Valley Floor, rejecting offers from the town over the years.

After a state court upheld the towna^?(TM)s eminent domain action, a jury in the ranching community of Delta was convened in February 2007; it set the propertya^?(TM)s value at $50 million. The judge overseeing the case then set May 21 as the deadline for delivering the money.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, based in Washington, D.C., was a partner in the fund raising effort. In 2001, the National Trust named Telluridea^?(TM)s Valley Floor one of the most endangered historic assets in the United States.

a^?oeNever have I seen a community rally more effectively for the preservation of one of its most important assets,a^?? said National Trust President Richard Moe.

a^?oeWhen the National Trust placed the valley floor on its endangered list a few years ago, the cause appeared nearly hopeless,a^?? Moe continued. a^?oeBut this extraordinary outcome reminds me of what Margaret Mead said: a^??Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.a^?(TM) Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.a^??

Preservation Partnersa^?(TM) Croke, a local architect, says the stories behind the effort are some of the most inspiring shea^?(TM)s ever encountered. Therea^?(TM)s the boy who donated $42 hea^?(TM)d been saving from his allowance. And the couple who gave up their 50th wedding anniversary trip to donate to the cause. And the man who doubled his six-figure donation upon the birth of his first grandchild.

a^?oeSupport from the people who understand the importance of this cause has been both overwhelming and heart warming,a^?? Croke said. a^?oeThe stories behind our effort are touching: We are blessed with our share of wonderful, caring people.a^??

With a court-ordered deadline of May 21 to make payment of the $50 million, fundraisers used a wide range of tools to bring in the money. The Telluride Institute constructed a community Wishing Well that produced more than $1 million in loose change and $100 bills. Lead donors such as eBay founder Meg Whitman rallied friends around the country to the cause. And the Valley Floor Preservation Partners continued its fundraising phone calls and emails right up until the last dollar was raised.

a^?oeStill, we couldna^?(TM)t have done it without the leadership and partnership of our town government,a^?? Jane Hickcox, a 32-year-resident and Presevation Partners board member, said.

The Town of Telluride committed $25.5 million towards the purchase. A combination of cash and bonds will be financed through an open space fund created in the early 1990s for purpose of acquiring and protecting open lands.

Pryor added, "Our voters spoke at the ballot box and the community at large with their pocketbooks. I believe nearly all of us here recognize how this special parcel speaks to our town's identity."

a^?oeThe significance of this acquisition moves far beyond Telluride. Hopefully conservation causes throughout the country will be encouraged by this success," remarked Will Shafroth, Executive Director of Colorado Conservation Trust.

Video: Announcement Press Conference



CONTACT US:       ©2014 Valley Floor Preservation Partners   

Valley Floor Preservation Partners • PO Box 202 • Telluride, CO 81435