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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : City to Buy Land With $492,500 Grant : Recreation: The buffer parcel will ideally keep residents from leaving trails and disrupting animals.


SANTA CLARITA — City officials will use a $492,500 grant from the California Parks and Recreation Department to buy land along future trails.

The buffer land will ideally keep residents from leaving the trails and disrupting animals living along the Santa Clara River and other riparian and wetland areas.

In 1992, Santa Clarita applied for a pair of $398,000 grants made available through the California Wildlife Protection Act of 1990--listed on state ballots as Proposition 117. Budget cuts last year forced one grant to be cut by $94,500, and the entire other grant was withheld.

Last month, the city received those funds.

Until negotiations begin, officials are unsure how much land Santa Clarita will be able to purchase with the grants.

Santa Clarita's 25-mile trail network is projected to cost $8.2 million and be completed within three to five years. The first link in the system was a two-mile section of the South Fork trail that opened in May.

The trail near Magic Mountain Parkway and San Fernando Road parallels the southern fork of the Santa Clara River. As with many of the paths, it is designed for use by pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians.

Santa Clarita competed against hundreds of other cities and nonprofit agencies to obtain the grants.

Upon its incorporation, the city set aside $5 million in general fund money for property acquisition. It now has $25,000 allocated for seed money and is handling $13 million in projects--funded by grants--said Joe Inch, city trail coordinator.

"Percentage-wise, throughout the state, Santa Clarita is way ahead of any other community that I'm aware of," said Inch. "In my way of thinking, it's the salesmanship and how much effort you put into it."

Inch said Santa Clarita hopes to identify all of the properties and secure their preservation by 1995.

The city has three years to spend the grant money allocated from the California Wildlife Protection Act and can apply for a one-year extension if necessary.

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