Arapahoe County Open Space Sales and Use Tax

In 2003, the electors of Arapahoe County voted to approve a resolution  imposing a 0.25% County Open Space Sales and Use Tax on the sale of tangible personal property at retail and the furnishings of certain services within the County. This tax is equal to 25 cents on every $100 spent. 

The Open Space Sales and Use Tax—which funds open space sites, improvements, programs, and services throughout the County—was renewed by voters in 2011, and reauthorized permanently in 2021, following reauthorization process undertaken by Arapahoe County to assess what—if any—changes should be made to the program. Ballot Issue 1A passed with more than 76% of the vote.

Download current Open Space Resolution  #21-263

Leaf Chart

Total Open Space Sales and Use Tax Revenue (2004-2021): $406,117,722

Five-Year Trend in Open Space Sales and Use Tax Collection 

  • 2017: $26,557,408
  • 2018: $27,911,710
  • 2019: $30,334,481
  • 2020: $31,526,629
  • 2021: $36,677,742

*38% increase in annual Open Space Sales and Use Tax revenue since 2017

Lifelong Program Impact 

Grants, Joint Projects and Shareback Funds Awarded to External Agencies (2004-2021) 

  • Shareback: $194,126,083
  • Grants: $48,264,674
  • Joint Projects: $35,523,929
  • Total Awarded: $277,914,686

*68% of revenue returned directly to local communities via awards to external agencies 

Impact on the Community

The Open Space Sales and Use Tax has allowed the County and its municipalities and special districts to fund:

  • 15 parks and open spaces, 4 trailheads, 20+ miles of trails are owned and maintained by Arapahoe County 
  • Hundreds of additional local parks, trails, and open spaces are funded by the Open Spaces program 
  • 68% of total funds are distributed directly back through Shareback, Grants, and Special Projects 
  • Nearly $278 million dollars have been awarded in lifetime of program (since 2003) to municipalities and special district partners 

Parks, Trails, Open Spaces 

  • 76 miles of trails built or improved 
  • 180 park and trailhead projects supported 
  • 31,000 acres of open space conserved 

Heritage and Education 

  • Fairgrounds community events and annual County Fair 
  • 17 Mile House Farm Park educational tours and cultural events 
  • CSU Extension education programs and outreach 
  • Environmental education partnerships 

Protection and Restoration 

  • Conservation easements 
  • Riparian corridor restoration 
  • Regional trail connections 
  • Recreational safety improvements 

Local Agriculture 

  • Active grazing program 
  • Farming, hay and wheat production