PRINEVILLE, OR -- It’s taken over a year, but the city of Prineville has completed the purchase of a large parcel of land near Barnes Butte, from Brooks Resources.
City Engineer Eric Klann says the development firm owed the city over a million dollars after putting in sewer lines and other infrastructure adjacent to its Iron Horse subdivision. They approached city officials in late 2016 with the proposed deal. Klann tells KBND News, "We essentially let them off the hook for the $1.2 million in return for the 460 acres and the 305 acres of water rights." Those water rights are important for the city's growth, "That’s enough water to allow us to serve 4,000 homes in the future. So, from our point of view, the value of those water right was worth $1.2 million and so the land was just the icing on the cake." And, he tells KBND News, "Purchasing that land will also allow us to extend a couple of main arterial roads in the future, which will be very helpful as Prineville continues to grow."
Klann says the parcel has a lot of potential. It's situated near Barnes Butte Elementary, and he says the school district could utilize trails for things like cross country meets or nature field trips. "The beautiful thing about this site is, with our 460 acres, there’s also 160 acres of BLM [land], right at the top of Barnes Butte. So now our public has access to 620 acres of open space." A public celebration planned for Friday is the first in a series of events aimed at engaging the community in the planning process. Klann hopes it will help citizens start thinking about how they’d like the land to be developed. "We could do everything from a sports park to, potentially, just a nature reserve." He adds, "For the city, what a fantastic opportunity. This could be and will be the ‘Pilot Butte of Prineville’ as we move forward."
Friday's event begins at 10 a.m. at the new parking lot and trailhead at the base of Barnes Butte, at 872 NE Combs Flat Rd. It features guided walks, wagon rides and remarks from Prineville Mayor Betty Roppe.