News Wednesday Feb 24, 2021

Sand Creek Trail Crossing at Hancock Expressway
One of the very exciting parks projects taking place in Southeast Colorado Springs in 2021 is the creation of the connection for the Sand Creek Trail across Hancock Expressway. The upcoming connection will allow trail users to safely access our main north to south urban trail, the Pikes Peak Greenway, at the El Pomar Youth Sports Park to the west. This missing connection was highlighted in the 2014 Parks Master Plan, in the 2017 Urban Land Institute study of this region, and during numerous community surveys and conversations that have taken place since.
 
There are two aspects of this major improvement to the Sand Creek Trail, the continuation of the concrete trail surface across the unimproved land just north of Hancock Expressway and the construction of a pedestrian-operated traffic signal controlled crossing of the roadway. The major scope of this project will take the collaboration of multiple City agencies from Parks, Traffic Engineering, and Water Resources Engineering and will be a very welcomed connection for our urban trail network. We will continue to stay engaged with the project partners and look forward to bringing you updates later in the year as they kick off construction in late Summer. 

PARK AND TRAIL News

 
Colorado Wilderness Act 2021
Congresswoman DeGette reintroduced the Colorado Wilderness Act to the US House on February 4th! Colorado Congressman Joe Neguse is co-sponsoring the legislation, House bill number HR 803. This bill will protect 660,000 acres of wilderness across Colorado and is right in line with President Biden’s pledge to protect 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030. In the central Colorado region, this bill proposes to protect six distinct areas for their wild values, including Beaver Creek, Grape Creek, McIntyre Hills, Table Mountain, Badger Creek, and the Browns Canyon National Monument.

Remembering Dick Bratton
Dick Bratton of Green Mountain Falls is considered one of the true trail champions of this region. Dick passed away last week. Many of you, including TOSC’s former Executive Director, Dan Cleveland shared memories of Dick and all he accomplished.
“Dick was the father of the current GMF trails system. He was the power behind all the trail efforts to build new trails and restore some of the old ones. One of my (Dan’s) early memories was the Catamount Trail project where he brought in 300 Volunteers for Outdoors Colorado to build the first segment of the trail to the North Slope Recreation Area. TOSC helped Dick find volunteers and provided some of the refreshments. I doubt any of the projects would have been done without Dick’s leadership and spirit. He was indefatigable in his push for the trails. The whole time I knew him he was continually working on trail projects in GMF. Even when his knees gave out, he kept leading the trails efforts.”
 
Dick’s sister Jill had this message for his friends: “thanks to all of Dick’s friends for being people he cherished.”
Black Forest
In Black Forest, there are four Friends Groups. The Black Forest Trails Association works to make sure that Black Forest parks and trails receive the care they require and that new trails and connections are included in new master plans. The Friends of Fox Run have the focus of supporting their park through cleanups and educational programming. The Friends of the Palmer Divide Regional Trail is a group dedicated to the maintenance and well-being of a 2-mile trail near the El Paso/Douglas County line.
The Friends of the Pineries is the newest group and still needs help getting off the ground. This volunteer group is the need of people to officially sponsor the group to get it officially recognized. If you would like to get involved with this group, please contact Aaron Rogers at aaron@trailsandopenspaces.org.
Park Advisory Board
The Board of El Paso County Commissioners is seeking community-minded citizen volunteers to serve on the El Paso County Park Advisory Board. The Park Advisory Board reviews and comments on items and proposals related to park policies, philosophies and objectives, and makes formal recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners. Applications are due by March 8, 2021.    
     View Volunteer Application.

TOSC

Getting to know TOSC Staff

Beth Desloges, Development Director
How Long at TOSC: I’ve been with TOSC since my family moved to Colorado Springs in November of 2019, which means the majority of my just-over-one year with the organization has been amidst covid!
 
Interesting Tidbit: Prior to my career in non-profit management, I was co-founder of a company in Savannah, GA that built custom wood furniture for yachts. Princes, sports icons and Fortune 500 CEOs were my customers (and the stories I could tell!). But in the company’s fifth year, I found myself disgruntled with the industry, so I sold my shares of the business and got my Masters in non-profit management so that I could do work that felt good. Since then, I’ve managed a children’s health organization, a breast cancer foundation, and a 300-seat non-profit theatre.  And now I’m proudly supporting the good work of TOSC.
 
Why I’m Passionate About Trails and Open Spaces: Growing up with little money in the mountains of NH, my mom and I took to hiking, since that was the only recreation we could afford! Since then, the military has moved my family across the country and I’m amazed at the lack of free outdoor recreation in every place I’ve lived throughout my adulthood. Coming to COS feels like coming home to a place where the community values the importance of FREE and AMPLE access to outdoor spaces. 
 
Favorite Place to Hike: Our neighborhood open space: Sunset Mesa. It’s a great place for my younger kids to explore and only people within our neighborhood know about it. (Shhhhh)
 
 
What Matters to YOU?
21 candidates are running for 6 COS City Council District Seats. That may be a record! If you had time to ask each of them just 3 questions about parks, trails and open spaces in Colorado Springs, what would you ask? Share your best question and we’ll ask for you! We’ll provide the answers in our weekly e-blast about the time you receive your ballot in the mail.
Send your questions to Susan@trailsandopenspaces.org

Community

Ballot Issue 1
On the April city ballot, Colorado Springs voters will be asked the following question: “Shall Section 7-90 (c) of the Charter of the City of Colorado Springs be amended to allow ballot titles for tax or bonded debt increases to exceed thirty (30) words?”
 
Where did the word limit come from?
Colorado Springs passed tax reform laws before TABOR was passed statewide. When TABOR was developed and passed statewide, the word limit was not included. TABOR provides great guardrails for government, it can and should be improved as we learn better ways to increase government accountability. No other other Colorado city have the 30 word limit.
 
Shouldn’t ballot titles be restricted to 30 words?
The word “title” is somewhat misleading. A ballot title is actually the complete and only text a voter sees on his or her ballot. There’s a built-in incentive to keeping ballot language focused; clean and concise ballot language is more effective on voter. But, there are also governmental checks and balances in place to ensure you won’t see a 100 page ballot question.
 
Why should voters support Issue 1? Simply put, voters deserve to know what it is they are voting for.
 
The Trails and Open Space Coalition, Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Association, Pikes Peak Chamber of Commerce and Visit COS all support Issue 1; along with Mayor John Suthers and City Council. We hope you will too.
 
 
Bicycle Friendly Community
The League of American Bicyclists is reviewing the City of Colorado Springs 2021 Bicycle Friendly Community application. To gain a better understanding of local bicyclists’ experiences in our community we are asking residents to complete a survey. This survey is meant to provide context for the decision-making process, as well as valuable feedback for you directly from bicyclists in our community. Award results for the Spring round will be announced in May.
Please take the survey before March 31.
Midland Corridor Traffic Study
Colorado Springs Traffic Engineers are studying the three-street corridor of Colorado Avenue, Cucharras Street and Pikes Peak Avenue to identify transportation issues and infrastructure improvements needed to carry out the vision of business owners and residents. While the Midland Corridor Traffic Study focused on the roadways, thanks to stakeholders and surveys there will also be a heavy focus on the pedestrian and non-motorized needs of this area. The study area will include the new connection for the Midland Trail under I-25 into America the Beautiful Park and beyond to Sierra Madre.
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