Why Keep Polston Public?
Keep Polston Public believes that a private RV resort is not an equitable or sustainable use for the Polston property and its adjacent city-owned ranch land. The community should be involved in designing the use of this space – which could include micro-enterprise business development, a commercial kitchen, community education facilities, a public park and amphitheater, community gardens, habitat conservation, and other projects which directly benefit the residents of the San Luis Valley.
Keep Polston Public supports a use for this property that directly serves the health, well-being, economic development, and educational opportunities for Alamosa and the greater San Luis Valley population.
What are we doing?
Alamosa, Colorado - On May 9th, 2013, the Alamosa Board of Education (ABOE) sold the 38.2 acre Polston elementary school property on the Rio Grande River for $255,000 less than its appraised value to a private RV resort developer instead of a Trust for Public Land project called the Healthy Living Park at the full appraisal value. We were stunned.
So we formed a group called Keep Polston Public. We researched the history of the decision, worked with legal consultants to warn the school board that their decision may be illegal on several counts, asked them to consider negotiation or mediation, and reached out to the community to inform them about the details and impact of this decision. Without any success in communicating with the school district, we filed a lawsuit against the ABOE alleging:
- ABOE violated Colorado Open Meeting Law
- ABOE violated the Colorado Constitution prohibiting publicly-funded gifts to a private entity
- ABOE violated the board's fiduciary responsibility to Alamosa school children
- ABOE violated the Colorado Public Schools Act procedure for sale of real estate.
A visiting judge has granted a Temporary Restraining Order on the property to prevent any further alteration until our case is heard (no date set).
What could happen next?
If we win the lawsuit and the ABOE is found to have made the sale illegally, we will work with the Trust for Public Land to purchase the property at its full appraisal value and proceed with the Healthy Living Park plan!
How can you help?
Your donations will help us to bring our case to victory, return the Polston property to public ownership, and fund the many important community initiatives found in the Healthy Living Park project!
We have already raised $15,000 for our legal efforts and our legal counsel has been extremely generous with their time and expertise. We must raise at least an additional $15,000 in order to proceed with our research, presenting expert testimony, and ultimately hold our local school board accountable for their actions.
Any funds remaining will go toward the Healthy Living Park or, if we are not successful, will be donated to the SLV Local Foods Coalition to best serve the future of local agriculture in the San Luis Valley.