First TOSC Member Hike of 2023 is a wrap!
Thank you to the members who joined us Saturday for a walking tour of the future Coleman Community Park site, Sand Creek Trail extension, and new Stormwater infrastructure. We enjoyed an informative and immersive (slightly wet shoes!) stroll along the existing social trail network that stretches along the riparian habitat that this section of creekway provides.
Jerry Cordova, TOSC board member and Stormwater Specialist for our Stormwater Enterprise presented and in-depth (literally) overview of the current creek conditions and the planned improvements that will be some of the first construction activities we’ll see in this corridor. This work will start later this year while the park project team works on developing specific costs and funding strategies for the recently completed draft park master plan. We are excited to see this project moving forward and will continue to stay involved as the master plan is fully approved later in 2023.
This project is just another reason why it is critically important that the Trails, Open Space, and Parks (TOPS) ballot initiative, the 20 year extension of the existing TOPS sales and use tax, needs to pass and you can do your part by voting YES on April 4th! Better yet, ensure that people in your network are in the know and understand that our ability to purchase new open space acreage, build new parks throughout the city, and add to our existing network of urban trails depends on a robust TOPS program!
We also appreciate our partners at Peaks N Pines Brewing – Tutt for providing such a welcoming and conveniently located spot to gather for post-walk food and refreshments. Look for information about the upcoming Great American Cleanup taking place there on Saturday, April 15th, hosted by the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District.
PARK AND TRAIL News
Prospect Lake Public Meeting
Attention kayakers and SUP lovers: Don’t miss a March 6th public meeting bringing you an update on Prospect Lake Design concepts for the future aeration project.
Monday, March 6th 5:30-7pm
Regional Development Center
2880 International Circle, Hearing Room and Meeting Room A/B
Goats in Bear Creek
A large herd of female cashmere goats are finishing up their “dinging duties” in eastern Bear Creek Regional Park. The goats are performing organic weed control on 20 acres of parkland near the Charmaine Nymann Community Garden. The Bear Creek Garden Association raised $12,000 to have Goat Green, LLC., bring their herd for 10 days. BCGA has been paying for this service for over two decades.
For the safety of the goats, pets and park visitors, Park Staff encourages pet owners to keep dogs leashed and under control while in the park near the goats. Rules will be strictly enforced.
Hiking Bob Podcast Interview
Recently, Hiking Bob has been interviewing local Park Leaders on his podcast. The most recent podcast in this series is an interview with Carl Bauer, the new District Ranger for the Pikes Peak Ranger District of the Pike National Forest.
Local land managers and outdoor nonprofits are flooding the job boards with fantastic opportunities to work outdoors. Here is a list of some of the opportunities that are currently open plus upcoming hiring events.
Mile High Youth Corps: For young adults looking to start their career the MHYC has these opportunities open in Colorado Springs: Land Conservation Crew Leader and Land Conservation Crew Member for the 2023 Summer Land Conservation program.
Rocky Mountain Field Institute: RMFI is hiring Field Instructors for the upcoming 2023 season. This position starts in March, apply now.
City of Colorado Springs Parks and Rec: The opportunities in the Garden of the Gods Park includes a fulltime Park Ranger position and seasonal openings for Park Interpreter and School Program Guide. In North Cheyenne Canon Park, seasonal opportunities are open for Park Guide and Lead Park Guide. At the Incline, an opportunity is open for a seasonal Patrol/Maintenance-Public Health Ambassador. On Pikes Peak, there are openings for seasonal roles including PPHWY Ranger, North/South Slope Recreation Area Ranger and Maintenance Worker (Snow Removal). Other open positions include Biological Technician, Trail Technician and seasonal Park Ranger.
El Paso County Parks: Open positions include fulltime and seasonal Parks Maintenance. There will be an in-person hiring event coming up on March 13th, 9am to 3pm at the Bear Creek Nature Center to learn more about seasonal jobs with El Paso County Parks. Click here for more info.
Pikes Peak Workforce Center/PPORA Job Fair
Thurs., March 9th, 10:30 AM to 2 PM
Interested in a career in the outdoor industry? Come out on March 9th for an outdoor industry focused job fair with PPPORA and the Pikes Peak Workforce Center! Come learn about local outdoor businesses, non profits and land managers and explore current and future job opportunities! The event is held at the Citizens Service Center off Garden of the Gods Road! More info here.
City Council Approves Open Space Acquisitions and Land Trade
This week COS City Council unanimously supported three proposals that will
- Increase open space (Wild horse Ranch – 1,021 acres)
- Add 5 acres to Corral Bluffs that adds access and monthly income
- Add 8 acres to Garden of the Gods plus a trail connection in a land exchange with Garden of the Gods Trading Post
Wild Horse Ranch will provide open space for east side residents thanks to TOPS!
* Yard signs for the TOPS Issue 1 ballot initiative are still available. Email us at email@example.com to get yours.
We Asked The Candidates!
“How should new parks be paid for and how should we address the backlog of capital needs? If you become Mayor, what solutions would you support?” We provided a list of funding sources (TOPS, General Fund, LART, PLDO) that currently provide dollars for specific park-related initiatives and reminded them that the Jacob’s Study identified $161 million backlog of capital needs including 15 promised parks. Below are excerpts from their answers. For complete answers: Here.
Some candidates chose not to respond to TOSC.
Wayne Williams: In addition to increasing the general fund, I’ve also consistently sought additional ways to fund parks, including:
(1) obtaining voter approval of ballot issue 2B in the November 2019 election, which allowed the City to keep $7 million in excess 2018 TABOR revenue for park improvements;
(2) allocated a portion of LART revenues to parks used by tourists (such as the new restroom building in Garden of the Gods);
(3) supported TOPS ballot issues…
At the appropriate time, I also favor placing a LART issue on the ballot providing long-term funding for parks frequently used by tourists….
Sallie Clark: As our city grapples with a growing population, I will convene a coalition of stakeholders to strategize a path forward for new parks and trails in Colorado Springs. We continue to see an increase in homeless camps that are impacting the ability to enjoy our parks, trails and open spaces…. I am the only candidate that has a track record navigating and working in local, state and federal governments. Following the Waldo Canyon fire, I co-chaired and established the Waldo Canyon Regional Recovery Group to bring needed restoration and mitigation dollars to our city and county. I will do the same to address our park funding issues and this is just one example of how my experience will be beneficial to doing the same for our City Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.
Yemi Mobalade: The Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department has been underfunded since the budget was cut in 2010 due to the Great Recession. Colorado Springs has the lowest dedicated sales tax for parks of any community on the Front Range. As mayor I will support the various efforts for additional parks funding to include funding through the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority and increasing the Lodging and Auto Rental Tax for tourists using our large regional parks….
I will urge citizens to reconsider increasing the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) sales and use tax to allow more funding for our playgrounds, community parks, open space and sports complexes….
Longinos Gonzalez: I am committed to increasing funding to our parks department and I believe there is room in the city’s General Fund to do so. Since 2019, the city’s budget has increased 36% and also included a 2021 TABOR retention, approved by residents, that I believe provides an opportunity to better support our underfunded parks and open spaces. I will also bring the public and our community stakeholders together to identify where that increased funding should be prioritized to address the backlog.
Tom Strand: Should I become Mayor of Colorado Springs, I would support a tri-part program: of placing a new LART ballot issue increasing the LART sales taxation to 4% for local lodging and 2% for rental vehicles; using $ 2 million of the City General Reserve account funding annually for four years; and expanding both private/public partnerships and Federal and State Grants to improve, maintain and provide 15 new parks and equipment, and additional trails and community open spaces.
Darryl Glenn: I view our parks system as a critical element in my overall city growth and development philosophy and goal of creating the safety city in the nation.
I will implement a more balanced infrastructure improvement plan for our streets, sidewalks, curbs and gutters, and parks. Our older neighborhoods will be elevated to the same standard as our newer developments.
My plan involves reallocating resources away from non-essential services and reinvesting them into our infrastructure.
Lawrence Joseph Martinez: Park foundations corporation advertisement corporate signage and state park lottery games. Budget reform community involvement start with the least expensive project save left over items so as to use them on the next project. See which construction companies will do it for a profit of only 20% over cost.
Request that developers pay a stipend then invest that stipend in the market so as to get the fund growing.
Andrew Dalby: Before we spend money on new parks, we should take care of the ones we have. In 2010, the city faced a budget crisis. The city council asked the citizens for a blank check tax hike in the middle of a recession. When they didn’t get it, they spitefully unscrewed the streetlights and killed the city parks. …. I would use general fund resources to rebuild trust with the public, and avoid the temptation to try to circumvent the voters with anti-TABOR “fees”. Once we have shown competence, then we can ask the people if they would like more parks.
Glad you Asked- Section 16
Many of you love to hike/cycle the Palmer Loop on Section 16 ( Red Rock Open Space) Closed last spring due to a rockfall, users wonder when it will reopen. The unstable section is on USFS property. A consultant has been hired to recommend a “fix” that will restore use of the trail. We are waiting to hear results as well as a potential opening date and will share that information as soon as it is available. A generous TOSC donor has offered to help pay the cost of restoring the trail!
The Guardians of Palmer Park
Saturday, March 4, 2023
9am to 1pm
Group 1 will do trash pickup
Group 2 will pick up dog waste (and any other trash that may be found) on the Yucca/Mesa trails (the dog off-leash areas).
Group 3 will do trail maintenance.
All working groups will meet at the Maizeland Parking Lot near the storage container next to the Baseball field. Crews will assemble there and be dispensed to the actual work sites. Only preregistered volunteers will be accommodated. Volunteers are encouraged to provide their own work gloves and drinking water. The Guardians of Palmer Park will provide tools.
Mayoral Candidate Forum
Tues., March 7 | 5:30-6:45pm
Join Palmer Land Conservatory for a 2023 Mayoral Candidate Forum – an opportunity for the community to hear Colorado Springs mayoral candidates weigh in on topics that are integral to living in southern Colorado
Submit candidate questions to
firstname.lastname@example.org by March 1, 2023. For more info, visit palmerland.org
Black Forest Section 16 – Come Share Your Opinion!
March 8th 6:30 pm
Black Forest Community Club 12530 Black Forest Road
Black Forest Trails Association has invited EPC Parks Executive Director Todd Marts to their March 8th public meeting to discuss Black Forest Section 16. Those attending will receive updates AND have the opportunity to share their vision for the leased property. Background: EPC’s lease with the State Land Board expired last year. The county agreed to renew for 10 years. The annual cost increased from $452/year to $21,825 per year. Many who use the 4- mile perimeter trail asked the question: “should the land be purchased?” This public meeting is your chance to get updates and share your ideas on Black Forest Section 16.
The Well & TOSC
March 9th 4-6pm
315 E. Pikes Peak Ave.
Thursday March 9th The Well will be donating 5% of their total sales from the day to TOSC. We encourage you to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner there! Join us for Happy Hour from 4-6pm.
See you there!
Pikes Peak Library District:
Stories from Pikes Peak
Fri., March 10th, 7:00 PM
The Story Project is returning to the Pikes Peak region for the first time since 2019! Join the PPLD in celebrating local stories told by members of our community. This year’s stories will focus on Pikes Peak, also known as Tava, Sun Mountain, and America’s Mountain. We’ll hear from Larry Cesspooch, Kat Tudor, Andrew Rudin, and Cyndi Parr sharing stories about their experiences with the beautiful mountain we call home.
Knights of Columbus Hall: Fri., March 10 at 7 p.m.