News Wednesday May 19, 2021

TOPS 2022 Park Projects
Each year Parks Staff proposes projects for the following year. TOPS Working Committee and Parks Advisory Board discuss and approve the projects. It’s the “accountability” component voters supported when they approved TOPS the first time in 1997.
For 2022: TOPS dollars for parks =$1.8 million. Staff proposes to spend $1.34 million to operate COS parks. In addition
·         $285,000 to help construct Panorama Park.
·         $65,000 to clean the Julie Penrose Fountain (ATB Park)
·         $110,000 to pay for the tap fee that will be needed for the new park – Greenways at Sand Creek
You might ask: what could Parks Staff do with more money? Repair aging playgrounds and irrigation systems. Replace damaged sports courts. If there were enough money, begin chipping away at the list of promised parks in neighborhoods around the city. There are currently 15 unbuilt parks.

PARK AND TRAIL News

2B Trail Projects Completed
This past Saturday, TOSC Executive Director Susan Davies and staff joined Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Karen Palus as they hosted the ribbon cutting for the East Fork of the Sand Creek Trail at Wildflower Park. This event celebrated both this specific project and also the successful completion of 4 defined major trail improvements that were a part of the voter-approved 2B ballot measure. These trail projects received $1 million of the $7 million in excess 2018 TABOR revenue and are all beautiful upgrades to the previously aging trail network sections, enhancing the experience for all users and creating safer connectivity for our city. Along with the East Fork of Sand Creek, the other projects were the Homestead Trail at Barnes Road, Palmer-Mesa Trail at Garden of the Gods, and the Shooks Run Trail along the Legacy Loop.
 
We congratulate our partners at Parks for the diligence and planning that was well-executed for these critical trail projects and look forward to continuing to support their 2B efforts as they take on the resurfacing of the court facilities at Thorndale Park and Boulder Park, and continue the work being done as the Coleman Park Master Plan becomes a reality.
 
For additional information about the 2B ballot measure and details about the many improvements the additional funding has allowed, please visit: coloradosprings.gov/2b
 
 
Incline Reservations Update
 
The Incline Reservation system will continue this summer allowing additional reservations (65) per half-hour in the morning and fewer (25) in the mid to late afternoon.
The “no show” rate continues to be 20-30%.
TOSC receives numerous calls from concerned visitors who can’t get a reservation. We encourage them not to be discouraged. Chances are there will be space for them. And if there is not, the adjacent Ute Regional Trail, Northern Return Trail and nearby Barr Trail all offer excellent hiking options.
 
To make an reservation, please visit: cityofcoloradosprings.aluvii.com
 
2020 ParkScore
 
The report cards are out and Colorado Springs is falling behind! Our 2020 ParkScore put us 53rd in the country. Last year we placed 49th and in 2018 we were 46th.
In comparison this year, Denver is 22nd and Aurora is 24th.
Each year the Trust for Public Land ranks 100 cities according to a long list of criteria including the number of acres of parks per capita, park amenities and public funding. Dog parks, bathrooms, basketball courts – it all matters.
Top cities: Washington DC and Minneapolis usually come in 1st and 2nd.
 

TOSC

Open Space Trail Ambassadors
TOSC is creating an Trail Ambassador program to support open spaces managed by the City of Colorado Springs: Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Blodgett Open Space, Ute Valley Park, Stratton Open Space, Palmer Park, Austin Bluffs Open Space. If you have a passion for volunteering and want to assist visitors with having a positive experience by sharing your knowledge of trails, information about the natural environment and answering questions; then you should be a TOSC Trail Ambassador! Trail Ambassadors will also report on trail conditions, participate in community science initiatives and share Leave No Trace principles. We are looking for 30 volunteers to participate in this stewardship program.
 
To learn more, join us on Thursday, May 27th at 5:30pm via Zoom, Link to Register.
Questions? Email Aaron Rogers, aaron@trailsandopenspaces.org.
 
 
Community advocates join our coalition for a variety of reasons. This week, hear from long-time member, John L. Demmon, and learn why he is passionate about supporting TOSC. 
 
Fun Fact About You: I’ve retired 3 times. #1 retired Air Force. #2 Retired Financial Advisor. #3 Retired President of Friends of Garden of the Gods – an all volunteer nonprofit dedicated to the care and preservation of the Garden.
 
Why are parks important to you:  Parks make Colorado Springs an attractive, energetic, beautiful city, amplifying the natural beauty around us.
 
Why do you think it’s important to support TOSC: With all the development going on in Colorado Springs, and with our growing population, it is critical to have an organization which advocates for open space, for parks, for trails, for the care and maintenance of these key aspects of the city. TOSC fills that role. Especially, I appreciate TOSC’s support and promotion of, and help in founding, Friends groups.
 
Favorite park: Garden of the Gods, of course!
 
How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: My family moved here after I retired from the Air Force in 1985.
 
Thoughts on volunteering in our parks: My message to folks considering volunteer work is “Just do it! Get involved. It is so rewarding.”
 
E-Bike Forum – Thank you!
Last week we hosted a virtual forum on the city’s E-Bike Pilot Project that begins on Memorial Day.
Over the next year Class 1 and 2 e-bikes will be allowed on paved trails and class 1 e-mountain bikes will be allowed on all soft surface trails. Signs will indicate a 15mph speed limit. The city will be monitoring the public’s response and safety as it prepares to make decisions regarding e-bikes on trails.
To learn more about the city’s pilot project plans, hear from an e-bike user and find out how Ft Collins conducted their e-bike pilot project plus lessons learned:Watch E-Bike Trail Mixer.
 
Special thanks to Scott Abbott with COS Parks, Kent Drummond and Nick Heimann of Ft. Collins Moves.

Community

Ute Valley Park Work Session
Join the Friends of Ute Valley Park for a Wednesday evening volunteer work session. Help close down and restore rogue social trails along Rattlesnake Ridge! Please wear pants and closed-toe shoes, bring work gloves, sunscreen, water, snacks and you must wear SOMETHING TO ACT AS A MASK that covers your mouth and nose (bandanna, buff, etc.). Meet up location is on top of the hill at the Pinon Valley Park entrance into Ute Valley. From there we will be dividing up into teams to accomplish our goals. 
 
You must register to participate in this event.
ConnectCOS
LIVE virtual public meeting
Wednesday, May 19, 5:30 – 7:00 PM
The City is studying the Midland Corridor to identify transportation and infrastructure improvements needed. The study area includes Colorado Avenue, Cucharras Street and Pikes Peak Avenue, and the Midland Trail, from 31st Street on the west to Cimino Drive on the east. To find out more and offer input, please attend the public meeting. The Midland Corridor study is part of Plan COS, the city’s comprehensive plan and ConnectCOS, the city’s transportation plan for the next 20 years. The study is funded by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA).
 
Visit coloradosprings.gov/MidlandCorridor to register for the meeting and/or to offer feedback through June 2, 2021.
Early Bird Hike & Bike at Garden of the Gods
Wednesday, May 26, 5:00 – 8:00 AM
This is an opportunity for recreationalists to enjoy the park and its roadways without motor vehicles.
All normal park rules will be enforced, and all visitors are asked to follow public health guidelines, including practicing physical distancing and wearing a face covering when a minimum of 6 feet can’t be maintained. For safety and per normal park rules, skateboarding and longboards are not allowed. Parking is available in the naturally-surfaced overflow lot near the park’s main entrance on 30th Street and in the parking lot at the Garden of the Gods Trading Post. Accessible parking spaces are available at the Trading Post.
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