Littleton buys Plum Valley land

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The City of Littleton is the proud new owner of an idyllic six-acre patch of land just southeast of County Line Road and Lucent Boulevard, across the road from McClellan Reservoir.

Known as Plum Valley, it’s adjacent to the High Line Canal and boasts a small pond.

City Council on April 17 approved paying $1.8 million out of the city’s dedicated open-space fund to ensure that the natural beauty of the site will remain out of reach of developers. South Suburban Parks and Recreation will participate in the purchase, and Arapahoe County Open Space and Great Outdoors Colorado have been asked, as well.

The city’s open-space task force recently identified Plum Valley, which abuts Highlands Ranch, as a high-priority site, saying keeping some open space in the rapidly developing area could be important. The task force suggested building a bridge for access to the High Line Canal trail, and possibly creating a dog park on part of the property.

Plum Valley has some historic significance to the city, as well. It was purchased by Robert “Doc” Ohlson in 1965, the year of the great South Platte River flood that took out several local businesses. An environmentalist before it was cool, Ohlson saw an opportunity in helping the community clean up.

Ohlson salvaged wood from the banks of the South Platte River by hand and used it to build a home for his family on the property, where he raised four children. The house still stands, though Charlie Blosten, the city’s director of public services, said it’s in disrepair and will be removed, along with two other structures.

Ohlson grew up in Denver and went to East High School. After a stint in the Korean conflict, he took over his father’s chiropractic business and moved it to Littleton, where he earned the nickname “Doc.” Active in the community, he helped establish recycling centers and was active with SSPR.

Councilman Bruce Beckman said it was a good step in preserving the High Line Canal corridor.

“It’s a great historic piece of Littleton that flows right through our community,” he said.