Protecting Historic Community Greenspace in Jackson, WY

FAQ

 
 

Who is involved in this project?

A local family, who wishes to remain anonymous, has the property under contract to provide an opportunity for the community. The Jackson Hole Land Trust is providing support on the acquisition. Numerous groups representing historical preservation, green space protection, and community character are helping drive the vision for this project. 

What community elements of the block will this project preserve?

This all depends on the level of community support we can generate. We need significant funding. The core project is committed to protecting the greenspace and historic character of the block. Further preservation is the goal, but adequate financial resources will ultimately make this a reality.

Why are you asking for a change in zoning?  Isn’t this just another development proposal?

The acquisition price means that we have to find ways to offset some costs. Given that the preservation elements limit where that development can take place, we are requesting a change in zoning that allows us to minimize the development footprint while recouping enough costs to make the project feasible. There is not a profit motive associated with this plan, we are completely driven by a desire to see a community outcome.

What happens to my donation if the Save Genevieve project isn’t completed?

Cash donations raised for the Save Genevieve campaign will be held in a designated account and disbursed only if the Save Genevieve campaign is successful. If this campaign is not successful, the Jackson Hole Land Trust will provide you with the opportunity to receive a refund of your donation or redirect your donation to other Jackson Hole Land Trust efforts.

How can I help?

We need as many donors to this project as possible. While we are committed to protecting as much of this block as possible, the amount of that protection is far from a sure thing. To put it simply, the more money we raise, the more green space and historic preservation we will get. We are looking to the community to step up and support this in any way you can.

How else can I support this?

This project will be going through a public process and we need community support. We will hold a neighborhood meeting on April 26th to discuss our plans. Please come out to that meeting to learn more and voice your support. 

 
 
The Historic Van Vleck Cabin, as seen from Broadway

The Historic Van Vleck Cabin, as seen from Broadway

 

 The Plan

The property commonly known as the Genevieve Block embodies the character of Jackson in a way that few other properties in town do. The block was developed early in the town’s history and has remarkably stayed mostly intact, providing a unique cultural landscape and telling a story that spans more than a century. Blending a community green space shaded by mature trees, historic structures, and commercial properties, it provides a relaxed setting right down the street from the bustling Town Square. At a time when many locals feel that the growth of tourism is suffocating the very things that we love most about town, the block is a refreshing reminder of why so many of us choose to live here. 

Like many in town, last fall we were troubled by the notion that this tranquil block would be redeveloped into a dense commercial property. Many of the mature cottonwood and spruce trees that dominate the block would be cut down, most of the historic structures that tell the story of Jackson’s early days would be removed, and the block’s character would be fundamentally altered. It felt that we were losing a critical part of our community’s history and a significant piece of our town’s present and future character. The community united in opposition to those development plans and articulated a desire to see the cultural character of the property remain intact.

When that development plan ultimately fell through, we were all hopeful, though not optimistic, that an opportunity would arise to protect the elements of the property that the town cherishes. Much to our delight, if not surprise, that moment is here. A local family now has the property under contract and has invested resources into creating a community-oriented outcome for the property with input in partnership with groups like ours (this family wishes to remain anonymous for now). 

This plan addresses what the community has identified as priorities of the block, the protection of green space, historic structures, and community character.  Importantly, this family is providing an opportunity to safeguard and preserve these critical elements of the property through green space and historic easements ensuring that the town’s residents will be able to enjoy this space in perpetuity. While this plan offsets some of the costs of preservation through thoughtful, modest development, it does not account for the full purchase price of the block. It is now time for the Jackson community to step up and fill that funding gap. Put simply, the community has received the time it asked for to develop a solution for saving the character of the Genevieve/Van Vleck block and it is up to us to respond with financial support. Our actions and involvement are likely to dictate the future of the property. 

Given where we thought this block was headed six months ago, this is a remarkable turnaround, but it is still far from a certain outcome, which is why we are asking for the community’s help. The window for the purchase and protection of this project is short. The contract expires in August, meaning we have to move quickly. In the coming months there will be ample opportunities for community members to engage with this project. Every last dollar we can raise is going to be critical for preserving the cultural character of the block. Every gift at any size matters.