Here comes Froom Ranch Open Space

June 18, 2010

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County has raised enough money to conserve 310 acres of land west of San Luis Obispo. [Tribune]

This week’s announcement followed a flurry of more than 300 individual donations, capping off the successful fundraising drive to buy property behind the Costco on Los Osos Valley Road.  The land, purchased from Phyllis Madonna for $780,000, will be called Froom Ranch Open Space and added to the city’s greenbelt.

When combined with the adjacent Irish Hills Natural Reserve, the city’s western greenbelt will grow to more than 1,000 acres. City officials hope to complete the purchase by July and open the area to the public in early fall after a half-mile connector trail is built on the property.

Initial funding for the project came through a mix of Measure Y sales tax money from San Luis Obispo and donations from groups including the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

However, donations still fell short by $63,000, prompting officials to launch a drive to raise the final amount. Donald and Mary Smith of San Luis Obispo donated $10,000, as did SunPower, a solar energy company looking to do business on the Carrizo Plain.

Overall, donations ranged from $1000 down to $2.

Froom Ranch will offer multiple recreational activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing.



  1. hotdog says:

    Why the thanks to the Madonna combine? They sold this land for lots of money (in a bad economy where all property is worth less than before). And they have much more. In fact Phyllis is building an obscenely large and expensive castle off San Luis Drive (I suppose just for herself) with a city financed new street. Alex and his wife have contributed to this community in many ways, but that isn’t the whole story. After I receive the avalanche of rotten cabbages from the raging public I may go into more on this local dynasty, with what little I know.

    (-11) 17 Total Votes - 3 up - 14 down
    • tonedtiger says:

      310 acres for $780,000 is a lot of money?…

      about $2500/acre….for that location….that is a good deal in my book….take care

      (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
    • Cindy says:

      hotdog, land is expensive, it easily goes about 100K + an acre in this county and a lot more if it’s all usable. Madonna gave us all one heck of a great deal in my book.

      (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
      • hotdog says:

        Value depends on the land, zoning and so on. It might have been a great deal but there was no comment in the article about that aspect of the deal so we are all just speculating. If there were a reasonable appraisal we would have more info to comment on.
        But whenever anyone (BP, PG an E etc) gives something back to the community it begs the question-did they gain all their dough from the community and then give a little back to reap huge pr rewards? This is evident in some of the good works that PG and E does. That is OUR money they give back to non profits etc. At the recent PUC meeting here a number of businesses (that do business with PG and E and thereby derive economic benefit) and non profit reps (who get grants from the huge monopoly) testified what a great company it is for all that. Bull, the corporation is buying good pr to maintain their business position. And I’ll bet all their energy conservation programs are mandated by the PUC and probably paid for by the rate payers. The CEO made almost $10,000,000 last year.
        In a similar note the Madonna family has reaped enormous wealth around here and by giving a little back we grovel and say ‘thanks’. Its good to get a deal for land conservation but keep it all in perspective. They could be ultra greedy and never give any back like some evil corporations do.
        Over 30 years ago Alex Madonna illegally despoiled one of our most important natural monuments (San Luis Mountain). The reputation of Madonna construction doing public works projects is tarnished by insiders who have indicated overcharges, shoddy work and other improprieties. The Inn is a bastion for meetings of the right wing moneyed interests over the years (recently Karl Rove held an event there). Anyone thinking of the environment (that we all depend on for life and cultural sustenance) would not entertain the Madonnas in the same thought.
        I wonder if we have an historian in our midst who could comment on the history of this family.

        (-8) 14 Total Votes - 3 up - 11 down
        • racket says:

          Geez, hotdog, next time you buy some, you might pick up the next larger size of underwear.

          The story is about how much cooler SLO is going to be with this great addition to their greenbelt paradigm. Whether they bought it from the devil, or used the devil’s money to pay for it is kind O.T.

          I think it’s a cheap shot for you to use the article as a hook to start your rant on the Madonna family. Often I care about “the sordid details,” this time I think you are sucker punching a family that has done a lot of good in this town.

          (6) 12 Total Votes - 9 up - 3 down
        • Cindy says:

          Well hotdog, I’ve only been in SLO County 12 years and have never heard any of the concerns that you’re voicing. It really doesn’t matter. Phyllis Madonna did a very nice thing and I am grateful to her. If one of her family members damaged the environment at sometime then be angry at them, not Phyllis who has perhaps attempted to mitigate some of that with a donation (yes the price is so excellent that I consider her land grant a gift or donation) of a whopping 310 acres of open space.

          When Karl Rove came to town, he wasn’t invited by Phyllis Madonna, he was invited by Tom Bordonaro. The Madonna Inn is a beautiful venue, why wouldn’t people patronize it and should Phyllis Madonna be responsible for everyone’s political issues? She is running an Inn not the headquarters of the Republican Party. I was at the Madonna Inn the day Karl Rove arrived with a sign that said he should be jailed for High Treason. Several well groomed rep ladies in a Lexus and a Mercedes gave me the one fingered salute in the Madonna Inn parking lot, Is that Phyllis Madonnas fault?

          Thank You Mrs. Phyllis Madonna for the beautiful open space.

          (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
          • Cindy says:


            “(yes the price is so excellent that I consider her land SALE a gift or donation)
            Replace the words “land grant” with “land SALE”


            (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
          • tonedtiger says:

            stayed at the Inn @2007….they had redone the swimming pool/gym…absolutely beautiful!
            also, of course, the food is fabulous….!

            (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. Cindy says:

    This is a wonderful deed, Thanks Mrs. Madonna.

    I hope they don’t trap and kill any of the wildlife.

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  3. racket says:


    (14) 14 Total Votes - 14 up - 0 down
  4. utube says:

    good deed by Phylis M

    (18) 18 Total Votes - 18 up - 0 down

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