Lafayette City Administrator Fritz Sprague is pleased to announce negotiations and agreements are officially finalized for the Waneka Centennial Farm and open space purchase.
“The purchase of the Waneka property for open space not only gives us a little breathing room around Erie and Broomfield's residential development on our eastern borders, but also helps preserve an important part of Lafayette's agricultural origins, maintains habitat for wildlife, and just makes us feel good as a community,” expressed Mayor Alexandra Lynch. “I’m delighted I was part of the Lafayette City Council that got this done.”
Since approximately 2016, the City had been in discussions with the Waneka family for the possible acquisition of a portion of the family farm. Over the past eight months, these conversations developed into productive negotiations resulting in a framework for acquisition of land for open space. City Council ratified the final agreements at their November 4 regular meeting.
“Preservation of open space is a community priority and it’s a such tangible way to add to the quality of our environment and surroundings for generations to come,” said Sprague. “Boulder County was a great partner on this acquisition with the City and the other win in this purchase is it preserves the Waneka family’s many contributions to our community.”
Centennial Farm and Agricultural Land Parcels
The first portion of the land transaction is a 136-acre parcel located south of Baseline Rd. and east of 119th St.
Approximately 4.5 acres within this area was solely purchased by the City of Lafayette and includes the Waneka family historic barn, storage structures, and residence. This parcel is referred to as the Centennial Farm. The City desires to preserve the historical characteristics of the Centennial Farm property and to make use of the structures on the property for city open space operations and purposes.
The remaining 131.5 acres was acquired through a 50/50 joint purchase between the City and Boulder County Parks & Open Space (BCPOS). This area includes 30 acres of marshland along the eastern property line now referred to as the Waneka Pasture. BCPOS will be responsible for maintenance of the property and intends to manage the land as active farmland.
The total purchase price for the Centennial Farm and Centennial Farm Open Space was $7,531,646 with the City’s portion totaling $4,106,646.
Old Town Buffer
The second acquisition is approximately 14-17 acres west of 119th St. and south of Baseline Rd. It consists of a 100-foot buffer from Baseline Rd. south along the Burlington Trail to Emma St., and incorporates a marsh area now referred to as Chuck’s Pond. It will also incorporate a buffer east along Emma St. to 119th St. This acquisition will cost between $968,000 and $1,175,856 depending upon the final land survey
History of the Waneka Family
The Waneka family name is synonymous with Lafayette history. Henry Adolf Waenecke (later changed to Waneka) emigrated from Germany to the United States with his family in 1854. In 1861, they built a homestead in Lafayette’s Coal Creek Valley and operated the Waneka Stage Stop located approximately 2 miles south of Mary and Lafayette Miller’s Miller Tavern Ranch. Shortly after, Adolf built a dam to impound a “generous” spring, which later became Waneka Lake. Adolph’s middle child, William, Sr., purchased 260 acres of rich, irrigated farmland just east of Lafayette in 1882. This land is located along Baseline Road and 119th St., and is known today as the Waneka Centennial Farm.
View a map of the Waneka Farm properties