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More than 1,000 acres of green

Environment: Property near Agua Dulce joins Elsmere Canyon in ring around the city

Posted: December 9, 2010 10:11 p.m.
Updated: December 10, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Santa Clarita expanded its greenbelt Thursday, officially dedicating 243 acres of undeveloped land near Agua Dulce for preservation and recreation.

The Rodda/Agua Dulce Partners property is located north and east of city limits.

“Everybody was absolutely thrilled that the city has acquired that land that will be forever preserved,” city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said. “We are considering more property adjacent to the Rodda property for future acquisition.”

The land, which came with a $1.2 million price tag, provides a wildlife corridor connecting two sections of the Angeles National Forest.

The land is part of the Santa Clara River watershed and the San Gabriel Mountain range.

The city used bond money from the Open Space Preservation District, as well as a $750,000 state grant, to pay for the land, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste said.

She added that one benefit of the Open Space Preservation District, which planners hope will some day circle the entire city, is that it protects Santa Clarita from undesirable projects near its border.

The 842 acres of Elsmere Canyon that the city bought in September was once slated to become the world’s largest landfill. That, too, was added to the Open Space Preservation District.

The plan to build a dump in Elsmere Canyon was thwarted following an outpouring of rage from the community and some clever legislative action on the part of Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita.

But until the city bought it this year, the future of the land was still uncertain.

Ortiz noted that Santa Clarita is the only city in the region to have its own open-space preservation district that actively works to acquire and protect land from development indefinitely.

Santa Clarita voters approved a bond to create the district in 2007. Since then, almost $5.5 million has been spent for acquisition and land improvements.

Almost $4.3 million of that was spent in 2010, making this a breakthrough year for the district, Ortiz said.

About 30 local officials and community members attended the Thursday morning ceremony, including Councilwoman Marsha McLean, Councilman Bob Kellar and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy officials.



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