PRINEVILLE, OR -- Nearly two years after purchasing raw land on Barnes Butte, the city of Prineville is asking the public what to do with it. City Engineer Eric Klann says there are 460 acres, with plans to soon purchase the final 160 acres at the very top of the butte from the BLM. "Now we have over 620 acres of open space. We’re really working with our community to get them out there, to get them excited about the project. The city knows that this is a very valuable opportunity for our citizens today and long into the future and so we’re working on the beginning plannings of what this site will be."
A citizen committee began last week talking about the future Master Plan for the area, which currently includes nine miles of roughed-out trails. "We don’t want to pre-determine the outcome of that master planning event," Klann tells KBND News, "But, very much, at our kickoff meeting, the louder voices were calling for protecting that natural environment that’s just out the back door of everyone’s home in Prineville. So, people [are] very much appreciating the natural trail surfaces and the ability just to be able to get out on their own."
Grant to Pay for Barnes Butte Master Plan (11/29/2019)
Aside from the formal committee, Klann also recruited a hundred first graders from neighboring Barnes Butte Elementary as "junior planners" for the open space. "They went out and identified seven unique features; those include some bat caves that they got to go look at, and a horse racing track. It’s real interesting," he says, "When I first spoke with them, they were talking about soccer fields and baseball fields, and things like that. Now that they’ve been out on the property experiencing, they really appreciate the natural environment and they’re using words like ‘protection’ and ‘accessibility'."
Klann says a Master Plan isn’t likely to be adopted until early next year. It will then be used to secure funding for any work deemed necessary.