Adams County has purchased a 38-acre agricultural property in the area recently named “Historic Splendid Valley.” The acquisition also includes 30 shares of Fulton Ditch water.
This property was purchased by the Murata family in 1964 from the Wall family, who owned a department store in downtown Brighton until the 1980s. The Murata family had a small dairy farm operation nearby before moving to the property. After the Murata family purchased the farm in the mid-1960s, they grew vegetables that were trucked down to market in Denver. The family spent a number of years growing sugar beets to help supply the Great Western Sugar Company. Green beans and pickling cucumbers were also grown for the Kuner-Empson Cannery, both located in Brighton at that time.
“Purchasing these former family farms is critical to the collective goal of preserving the heritage and culture of the area in and around Historic Splendid Valley,” said Commissioner Steve O’Dorisio. “The Board of Commissioners is grateful to our Open Space Board and the District Plan Commission for their work in prioritizing projects that help secure these farms for future agricultural uses.”
The land contains prime agricultural soils and is situated between two farms that have already been preserved. The acquisition of this property puts the total land preserved by Adams County and the City of Brighton in Historic Splendid Valley to 288 acres. When privately owned lands under agricultural conservation easements are included, the total comes to roughly 325 acres preserved for agriculture.
As part of the process of purchasing the property, the county has placed a conservation easement on the land to ensure its agricultural use is protected in perpetuity. It also ensures the shares of water are permanently tied to the land. The City of Brighton will hold and monitor the easement on the property.
“The history of this property highlights the importance of Historic Splendid Valley's agricultural heritage. We are grateful the preservation of this farm will continue to protect the character of this community,” said City of Brighton Mayor Ken Kreutzer.
The Conservation Fund assisted the city and county to complete this purchase. The Conservation Fund is a nonprofit organization focused on conserving land and water in ways that make both environmental and economic sense. They implemented the transaction, bringing all the parties together in an outcome that benefits the community and the local food economy.
Situated right along the US-85 corridor, this property is visible from a main thoroughfare and is an invitation to stop and visit Historic Splendid Valley and its farm stands, you-pick opportunities, and other agritourism amenities. Currently, peppers and other vegetables are grown on the land by Petrocco Farms. The purchase of the property allows Adams County to immediately preserve the property for agriculture. In the future, this land will be one of many available to further the vision of Historic Splendid Valley.
Funding to complete this purchase came from the Adams County Open Space Sales Tax program. Proceeds from the sales tax benefit parks, recreation, and open space projects countywide.