County discusses use of open-space gift funds |

County discusses use of open-space gift funds

Nevada County supervisors directed staff Tuesday to come back with criteria for allocation of an $877,738 gift to the county.

Auburn benefactor Dryden J. Wilson left a $1,775,446 living trust naming Nevada and Placer counties as equal beneficiaries, with a wish that the money be used to preserve open space.

A retired Pacific Gas & Electric employee, Wilson died March 18, 2000, at the age of 97.

Dryden was a person who wanted to help save open space for the benefit and enjoyment of the public, according to his attorney, G. Chris Wilson.

“I think those wishes are respectable and in line with the goals of the board,” said Supervisor Bruce Conklin.

The money should be put in a “lock box” until criteria for its allocation are developed and reviewed by the county’s park and recreation districts and land trusts, said Supervisor Peter Van Zant.

Supervisors Conklin and Elizabeth Martin said the county should consider using the money to leverage and attract matching funds.

“We want those dollars to go as far as we can,” Conklin said. Martin said the pursuit of matching grants should be included in criteria for allocation.

“This $800,000 should buy us millions of dollars in improvements,” she said.

Supervisor Sue Horne said some of the money should go to the south county to fund much-needed recreation projects, especially for youth.

Horne asked the board to consider authorizing a portion of the gift to fund completion of the Magnolia Sports Complex, which is slated to include a skatepark and multipurpose recreational field.

“There’s a great need for a skatepark in the south county,” she said.

The proposed Loma Rica Ranch Park east of the Brunswick basin also surfaced as a potential project to be funded by Dryden’s gift.

“I think Loma Rica is a good place to look at applying for (matching) grants and getting seed money,” said board Chairwoman Barbara Green.

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