Purchasing several thousands of acres of land in Albany County became $3.5 million easier to accomplish Tuesday when the price of the property decreased.
A recent appraisal of the property showed the land, about 5,500 acres spanning from Laramie’s east edge to the Medicine Bow National Forest, is worth about $10.5 million instead of the $14 million previously requested.
Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent said the price was changed to match the value found by an appraisal of the land as allowed through the purchasing agreement between the county and land owner.
“The amount of money that was being offered to purchase it was conditioned upon an appraisal being completed,” Trent said. “That appraisal has been completed, and I am glad to say that the appraisal came back lower than what the asking price for the property was.”
The Funding Oversight Committee — a body of county officials tasked with purchasing the property — recently completed and plans to submit an application to the Wyoming State Parks Department that could lead to the land becoming a state park, Albany County Commissioner Terri Jones said.
We have completed the state parks application and we will send it in,” Jones said. “This does not mean that we are looking at making the land purchase a state park, it does not mean that we are looking to have the state manage it. Both of those could be possibilities, but that is not the only direction we are looking.”
The committee is using the application as a guide to avoid collecting data on wildlife and geological information again for different applications, she said.
“If we fill out one application that requires all that information, then it is easier to provide that information into other applications,” Jones said. “To re-look up all the plants or any that are particularly susceptible (for every new application) takes up an incredible amount of time.”
Domenic Bravo, an administrator for Wyoming State Parks and the Outdoor Recreation Office, said along with information about wildlife and the geology of the area, the application asks about other factors that are considered when creating a new state park.
“We look at concerns that group might have, in regards to pitfalls or what any hurtles might be, like development costs and natural hazards,” Bravo said. “By the time (agencies) get to the application phase, most folks have already said this is up to the level of being a state park.”
He said just because the parks department receives an application, it does not automatically make it a state park. Applicants still have to make it through the rest of the process within the parks department and be voted on by the Wyoming state legislature and signed by the governor to become a park, Bravo said.
“There is no way for me to say that everything that has applied for has ever become a state park,” he said. “There have been many of them that have not made it out of the application phase.”