Durangoans might get an update next week about the future of Buckley Park, a gathering place in the center of town that is up for sale.
City Councilors will convene at 3 p.m. Tuesday for a special meeting to discuss the purchase, transfer or other property options for the park. Both Durango officials and the park’s owner, Durango School District 9-R, have agreed the park should remain open space.
“I would love to have a path that we can follow to make it stay a park for the community,” said Durango Mayor Kim Baxter. “That would be my ideal. ... Then we can work to make it happen.”
Durangoans have used Buckley Park for historic anniversaries, countless community events, protests and pure relaxation.
The park is part of the school district’s central office campus, and the school district leased the park to the city in 2013 on a 10-year lease for $1,000 a year.
Durangoans first caught wind that the 1½-acre, grassy field off Main Avenue was for sale in February 2020. In December, the district agreed to negotiate a land swap that would preserve Buckley Park, possibly trading it for various city properties including Fanto Park, which is just south of Park Elementary School.
During the virtual meeting Tuesday, City Council will enter into an executive session, a private meeting closed to the public to discuss sensitive issues such as negotiations, to talk about property options with city staff members. They will be considering purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer or sale of the property.
Baxter expected to get property updates before the meeting, but the council had not received any defined options as of Friday. There will not be a public comment period during the meeting.
“We’ve talked briefly about it, mostly the fact we want to keep the park as a park,” Baxter said. “9-R is completely supportive of that concept, and they’ve made that really clear to anybody interested in that property.”
The city is willing to strike a deal – whether it means trading properties, putting money on the table or offering maintenance services for their parks – to keep it as a park.
“Until they tell us what’s going on for them, we don’t really have a firm avenue to go down,” Baxter said.