From the Executive Director:
We want to be very clear: TOSC has not taken a position on the proposed land exchange involving Colorado Springs and the Broadmoor.
As we see it, the proposal is still unfolding. What does the Broadmoor really want with the Strawberry Fields property? A horse stable and trails for guests and members of the public? Or do they really want a “buffer” to protect the rest of their property to the west – Seven Falls? Will they invest in the conservation values of that park property with sustainable trails and ongoing forest mitigation (to protect neighbors)? Would the Broadmoor be willing to allow continued public access? Could the deal include deed restrictions that protect the property for perpetuity as park property?
The proposal has touched a nerve with many members of our community. Sell a piece of a city park? If it were that simple, TOSC staff would have undoubtedly urged our Board of Directors to oppose the proposal. (All major and/or controversial resolutions are decided by our Board.) But it’s not that simple. The land exchange includes a number of separate “exchanges.” There has been little opposition to the exchange of a few parking spaces for a portion of Barr Trail and the Manitou Incline (plus the opportunity for a new city built trail on the north side of the Incline.) The small addition to Bear Creek Regional Park is not stirring controversy and trail users throughout the region appear happy with additions to the Chamberlain Trail. But exchanging a portion of Cheyenne Canon park for less accessible property to the west has attracted loud opposition.
Again, TOSC’s Staff has not made a recommendation and our Board of Directors has not made a decision. The proposal was presented at the last board meeting. Board Members raised questions and staff was directed to seek answers. We need more information before we’re ready to take a position.
When we have these answers, we’ll be ready to make a recommendation to our Board. In the meantime, we will continue to ask questions, advocate for a thorough public process and stay true to our mission – “We are dedicated to the preservation of open spaces and parks, and the creation of a network of trails, bikeways and greenways for the Pikes Peak region.”
**Community Meeting on Wednesday February 24th, 2016 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Gold Camp Elementary School located at 1805 Preserve Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80906.
For additional information, to view a map of the proposed land exchange, and to comment on the proposal please visit: www.ColoradoSprings.gov/ProposedLandExchange.