New Public-Private Management Model for the High Line Canal — The High Line Canal Conservancy

From email from the High Line Canal Conservancy (Suzanna Fry Jones):

The Canal Collaborative officially launches to formalize the new governance model, making permanent the powerful public-private partnership between 13 regional partners, including the High Line Canal Conservancy and Denver Water

Denver, CO (January 26, 2022) – The High Line Canal Conservancy today announces the public-private partnership known as the Canal Collaborative that formalizes a new partnership between 13 regional entities to preserve, protect and enhance the 71-mile High Line Canal. This powerful collaborative brings partners together in a collective impact model – working together to support the Canal’s transition from a part of Denver Water’s historic irrigation system to its new role as a 71-mile linear park and emerging stormwater management system. The newly formed Canal Collaborative formalizes roles and responsibilities for the long-term management, funding and governance of the Canal

“This Partnership was built on the premise that together we can do more for the Canal than any one entity can do alone. The deep respect for varied local perspectives, combined with the power of the community’s vision and commitment has been a winning strategy that has resulted in a common vision and new governance structure to ensure the Canal is cared for as a vital backbone of our region’s open space system for generations to come,” said Harriet Crittenden LaMair, High Line Canal Conservancy Executive Director.

To formalize the launch of the Canal Collaborative, key leaders from across the region, joined together to witness Jim Lochhead, CEO and Manager of Denver Water, owner of the Canal, sign the long-awaited Memorandum of Understanding at the first annual State of the Canal. To a virtual audience of nearly 100, key leaders presented on Canal preservation and enhancement progress achieved to date and what’s to come in the next phase of improvements and implementation of The Plan for the High Line Canal (The Plan), including $130M dedicated for improvements over the next 15 years.

“Denver Water had a century old canal that had outlived its usefulness” said Jim Lochhead, Denver Water CEO. “We wanted to transform the canal into a recreational and environmental crown jewel for the region. And with the help of a dozen partners who shared the vision, we have come together to realize that vision through the Canal Collaborative.”

This model of regional collaboration started to take shape in 2010 when, for the first time in the 140-year history of the Canal, governments, agencies and a nonprofit partner from across the region stepped forward, committing to deep collaboration that resulted in a powerful regional community driven vision plan, a framework plan and new governance structure to guide the future of our regional legacy. These successful collaborations culminated in agreements to create the Canal Collaborative, memorializing collaboration in a collective impact model for long-term sustainability ensuring The Plan becomes a reality for the people of the region to enjoy for generations to come.

“Arapahoe County has committed tremendous resources to the Canal since 2010. We’re thrilled that this new entity will bring together the various jurisdictions so we can hear from each partner and the public about the best ways to preserve and protect the High Line Canal for the future,” said Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Sharpe.

Over the next 15 years, the collaborative will work together to implement over $130 million of trail improvements, including improved access and safety, enhanced environmental health for the region and improved quality of experience.

Canal leaders (left to right): Chief Executive Officer Jim Lochhead, Denver Water; Board Chair Paula Herzmark, High Line Canal Conservancy; Executive Director Harriet Crittenden LaMair, High Line Canal Conservancy; Commissioner Nancy Sharpe, Arapahoe County; Open Spaces Director Shannon Carter, Arapahoe County; Chief Operations and Maintenance Officer Tom Roode, Denver Water; Council Member Kendra Black, City and County of Denver; and Deputy Executive Director of Parks & Recreation Scott Gilmore, City and County of Denver. Photos by Evan Semón Photography
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CEO Jim Lochhead of Denver Water signing the Memorandum of Understanding to officially launch the Canal Collaborative. Photos by Evan Semón Photography
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Canal Collaborative Memorandum of Understanding. Photos by Evan Semón Photography
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