Frequently Asked Questions about the Broadmoor Land Exchange Proposal
Trails and Open Space Coalition
We do not speak for the City or the Broadmoor in these FAQs. These are our responses.
- Why transfer public property into Private ownership?
The transfer of Strawberry Hills into private ownership is part of a large transaction that includes the transfer from private to City ownership of parts of the Manitou Incline, Barr Trail, parcels next to Bear Creek Park and Chamberlain Trail easements. The City is gaining far more than it gives in terms of conservation and trail connectivity.
The Broadmoor is willing to provide public access and protect and improve the conservation values of Strawberry Hill, something City Parks has been unable to do because they don’t have the money. Our parks department is severely underfunded. They receive less general fund support today than they did 10 years ago.
Public-private partnerships are the wave of the future in the conservation community. As long as communities refuse to tax themselves enough to provide adequate parks funding, we must be able to leverage the support of private individuals and companies to preserve our natural spaces. Our mission is to preserve open space and parks, and create a network of trails. This deal, managed in the way we propose, will achieve the goals of preserving open space and connecting trails. TOSC must look at the whole system and consider what is best for the system.
- Why don’t we just lease the land to the Broadmoor?
We asked the Broadmoor that question. The Broadmoor is not interested in leasing the land.
- Why don’t we buy the land with TOPS money?
TOPS requires a willing seller. We’ve asked the question, and the Broadmoor is not willing to sell its properties without the exchange. A representative of the Broadmoor heard the TOPS-purchase proposal presented at Parks Board, and stated at that time that the Broadmoor is not interested in participating in that plan. This is the deal on the table.
- Is a conservation easement really forever? I hear it can be overturned.
It really is forever. Zoning can be changed, deed restrictions can be challenged in court, but conservation easements have real longevity. We learned today at the TOPS Working Committee, the only time a conservation easement can be “undone” is if the community “condemns” the land. Condemnation is very difficult in Colorado Springs and highly unlikely in this case. All of our GOCO properties are protected by conservation easement, which is generally recognized as the most effective way to place lands, both public and private, into conservation for perpetuity.
- What’s the impact on wildlife in Strawberry Hills?
The Broadmoor has said it will reclaim some of the damaged/disturbed property on the south end of Strawberry Hill to improve habitat for the wildlife. Their “footprint” will be on 7-9 acres of the 189 acre property and fairly near Mesa Road.