City gets $1 million grant to acquire open space

Politics and government

By Jim Holt 
Senior Investigative Reporter 

A million-dollar grant to buy 400 acres in Tick Canyon helps city planners tie a big “green” ribbon of real estate around the Santa Clarita Valley.  

While thousands of acres are still needed to complete the greenbelt, the funding goes a long way toward making that happen. 

On Wednesday morning, Mayor Laurene Weste was in the city of South Gate, where the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District officially awarded the city of Santa Clarita $1 million in Measure A Acquisition Only grant funding to support the future acquisition of the Borax Mine Open Space property in the Santa Clarita Valley. 

“Our city of Santa Clarita has long been committed to preserving the critical open space that surrounds our community,” Weste said. “Thanks to this grant, we will be able to add this vitally important 400 acres to the thousands of acres that have already been preserved. These natural areas not only provide recreational opportunities for residents but also protect crucial natural habitats for wildlife.”  

The latest piece of the puzzle brings the total number of acres acquired to preserve SCV open space to 13,400. 

Over the last five years, the city has worked in partnership with The Trust for Public Land on a plan to acquire the Borax Mine Open Space property. 

Tick Canyon Property 

The 400 acres include parcels of land at the northern end of Tick Canyon. One of the larger of those parcels — all part of the Angeles National Forest Conceptual Area Protection Plan — is a 70-acre site just south of Davenport Road near Summit Knoll Road. 

The grant funds will be used to narrow the funding gap that exists to acquire the property. The land is now part of the thousands of acres of open space in the Santa Clarita Valley protected from future development. 

It connects the Angeles Forest back together and helps complete the greenbelt that surrounds the city of Santa Clarita. 

“I’m working my way all around the valley,” Weste said Thursday about her year-after-year efforts to complete that greenbelt around the Santa Clarita Valley. “This is just another piece of the puzzle and I can’t wait for the last piece put in place.”  

In fall 2021, the Santa Clarita City Council authorized city staff to apply for Measure A grant funds for the project, and staff applied for an Acquisition Only grant to further fund the acquisition of the Borax Mine Open Space. 

The city of Santa Clarita was one of 30 grant recipients selected by the county’s Regional Park and Open Space District, which awarded the city its full funding amount requested. 

SCV Greenbelt  

Measure A generates more than $90 million per year for the county’s local parks, beaches and open space areas. 

In 2018, Santa Clarita City Council approved the purchase of 176 acres of open space between Tesoro Del Valle and San Francisquito Canyon Road, bringing the total open space acreage in Santa Clarita to 9,495.  

Then, two years ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would expand a portion of the Rim of the Valley Corridor by more than 191,000 acres.   

The Rim of the Valley includes the mountains that hug the Santa Clarita, San Fernando, Simi, La Crescenta and Conejo valleys.  

“Interconnecting all those mountain ranges,” said Weste, becomes critical in preserving nature for future generations. 

Connection with Nature  

“How much better this will be for people wanting a connection with nature?” she said. 

In August, when the total number of preserved open space acres reached 12,000, Weste noted that city’s ongoing efforts to expand the city’s greenbelt buffer helped to retain critical wildlife corridors. 

“Protecting these places of natural beauty creates new recreational opportunities that add to Santa Clarita’s quality of life and provides habitat for threatened species,” she said in August, citing open spaces that include Haskell Canyon, Newhall Pass, Wildwood Canyon and San Francisquito Canyon. 

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