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GOCO investments key in local projects

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By Greg Romberg

My term on the board of Great Outdoors Colorado expires today. It has been my honor and privilege to serve the people of Colorado’s 6th Congressional District on this important board since 2002.

Colorado voters created GOCO in 1992 by establishing a program in which roughly half of lottery proceeds are dedicated to funding for parks, open space and wildlife. Because of this important funding source, huge parcels of open space have been protected throughout Colorado, regional and local parks dot our entire state, state parks have been established and developed, and a variety of wildlife species are healthier and more plentiful than would otherwise be the case.

Our area has received huge benefits from GOCO investments during my tenure. Both the Beaver Brook Watershed and South Table Mountain are protected from future development because of the involvement of GOCO. A phenomenal new state park is being developed near Shaffers Crossing; I can’t wait until all of you are able to visit Staunton State Park. The all-weather track at Evergreen High School and field at Bergen Meadow Elementary School were possible only because of GOCO. The work you’ll see done on the North Evergreen Activity Trail this year is paid for primarily with GOCO funds. And the plan for Buchanan Park that has generated so much controversy was financed with GOCO dollars.

The beauty of Great Outdoors Colorado is the partnerships it generates. Matching funds for Beaver Brook and South Table Mountain came from county open space programs in Clear Creek and Jefferson counties. Additionally, Beaver Brook couldn’t have been saved without the work of the Mountain Area Land Trust, and South Table Mountain’s preservation owes thanks to the Trust for Public Land and Coors. The track at EHS was a collaboration with the Jefferson County Schools project to put artificial turf on the field there. The NEAT and Bergen Meadow projects combined GOCO resources with local grassroots efforts. Like the projects throughout Colorado, none would have come to fruition without committed community volunteers and organizations.

Each time anyone plays a lottery scratch game or buys a Powerball chance, funds are generated for the programs funded by Great Outdoors Colorado. Colorado is a better place for the investment of these funds, and I’ve enjoyed representing the people of this area on those decisions.

• • •

My friend and GOCO colleague Ruben Valdez will be among a number of people honored at the 2009 Good News Celebration Breakfast on April 28 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Ruben has had a lifetime of providing service to the people of Colorado, including serving as the speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives and in two different Cabinet capacities for former Gov. Richard Lamm.

Ruben is being honored for his work for Jefferson County as a member of the board of Great Outdoors Colorado. Other honorees have provided service to our county in other areas. Tickets are available through April 21. More information is available at www.good

newsjeffco.com.

Greg Romberg is president of Romberg and Associates, a government relations and public affairs firm. He lives in Evergreen with his wife, Laurie, and three daughters.