2019 TABOR Retention Resolution

This November Colorado Springs is asking voters to use $7 million of excess revenues to invest in critical park, trail, and open space maintenance projects.

WITHOUT IMPOSING ANY NEW TAX OR INCREASING THE RATE OF ANY EXISTING TAX, SHALL THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS BE PERMITTED TO RETAIN AND SPEND UP TO $7,000,000, THE ESTIMATED 2018 FISCAL YEAR REVENUE ABOVE THE 2018 FISCAL YEAR REVENUE AND SPENDING LIMITATIONS, SOLELY FOR THE FOLLOWING PARKS, SPORTS AND CULTURAL FACILITIES AND TRAIL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS LOCATED WITHIN THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS:

  • REPAIR, RESTORATION AND IMPROVEMENTS TO ACACIA, ANTLERS, MONUMENT VALLEY, PALMER AND PANORAMA PARKS
  • REPAIR, RESTORATION AND IMPROVEMENTS TO ALAMO SQUARE/PIONEERS MUSEUM
  • REPAIR, RESTORATION AND IMPROVEMENTS TO COTTONWOOD CREEK BASEBALL FIELDS, LEON YOUNG SPORTS COMPLEX, BOULDER PARK SPORTS COURTS AND THORNDALE PARK SPORTS  COURTS
  • TRAIL IMPROVEMENTS TO HOMESTEAD, MESA, SANDCREEK AND LEGACY LOOP TRAILS
  • REPAIR AND REPAVING OF EVERGREEN AND FAIRVIEW CEMETERY PARKING AREAS
  • PREPARATION OF COMMUNITY PARK MASTER PLAN FOR COLEMAN PARK, AS A VOTER APPROVED REVENUE CHANGE AND EXCEPTION TO ANY CONSTITUTIONAL, CHARTER, OR CITY ORDINANCE OR CODE LIMITATIONS THAT MAY OTHERWISE APPLY?

____Yes  ____No

Why is 2B a good idea?

Reasons to Vote YES

  • TABOR is not a tax increase. It is surplus revenue that has already been collected.
  • The money can ONLY be spent on these specific trail, parks and open space projects.
  • Healthy parks, trails and open spaces contribute to a healthy economy.
  • Projects are spread throughout the County so there is something for everyone.
  • TABOR funds will be used to care for existing parks and trails; it does not add trails or require that future money be spent.

Why Organization Support 2B

TABOR initiative support letter

Groups endorsing 2B: Friends of Monument Valley Park, Friends of Boulder Park, Friends of Garden of the Gods, Friends of North Cheyenne Cañon, Incline Friends, Corral Bluffs Alliance, Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance, Pikes Peak Pickle Ball Association, Home Builders Association, Downtown Partnership, CS Chamber and EDC/Government Affairs Council and Visit COS.

 

2019 TABOR Retention Project Proposals

Project #1: Historic Parks – Antlers, Acacia and Alamo Square/Pioneers Museum

All three sites are currently going through a re-master planning process. $2 million will be used to improve lighting, ADA improvements, new pedestrian areas and connections, potential dog park amenities, community gathering spaces and exhibit expansion.

Learn more about DOWNTOWN HISTORIC PARKS MASTER PLAN.

Antlers Park

Acacia Park

Project #2 Monument Valley Park – Lighting, Irrigation, Pavilion and Ponds

Two pond restorations, sports lighting for pickle-ball courts, irrigation and tree replacements and restoration of a historic pavilion are all on the list of projects to be funded. If the TABOR Excess Revenue initiative wins, $1 million will be spent in Monument Valley Park.

The land for Monument Valley Park was donated by General William Palmer – one of his many generous parkland donations that transformed our community. Improving Monument Valley Park as we approach our city’s 150 birthday seems an appropriate tribute to General Palmer and a gift to ourselves.

Learn more about this amazing community park and find out how you can make it better by connecting with the Friends of Monument Valley Park.

http://www.fmvp.net

 

Empty Pond

Eroding Pavilion

Project #3 Palmer Park Signage

If the TABOR  Excess Revenue ballot measure passes, $200,000 will be used to replace signs and improve wayfinding in Palmer Park.

Palmer Park was one of our earliest parks, opened in 1902 as a gift from General Palmer to the residents of Colorado Springs. It remains an inspiration point for city residents with magnificent views of the region.  With 740 acres and 25 miles of trails, residents and visitors do get confused. Better signs will improve the experience for users in this popular regional park.

Guardians of Palmer Park lead volunteer projects to improve the park on a regular basis. To learn more: www.gopalmerpark.org

 

 

Unreadable Trail Sign

Sun Bleached Maps

Project #4 Cottonwood Creek Park Artificial Fields

Playing fields continue to be in high demand – especially in northern neighborhoods.
Cottonwood Creek Community Park is extremely popular; if you have visited on a weekend you know how well used this park is.

If passed, the TABOR refund would be used to convert three baseball fields from grass to artificial turf, saving water and reducing maintenance costs. Total project cost is $1.6 million.

Improving the fields will provide a consistent playing surface and increase the playing time available for athletic programs serving teams in the northern and eastern portions of our city.

Baseball Field at Cottonwood

Artificial Baseball Field

#5 Leon Young Sports Complex Parking Lot

Okay, replacing parking lots is not exciting or sexy. Fact is, we need parking lots to be safe for people of all ages and abilities and safe for vehicles. The Leon Young parking lot is one of the worst in our system. It’s also heavily used by athletic teams in the region. Families use the parking lots to deliver young players and stay to watch healthy competition. This parking lot is riddled with cracks and holes and needs to be replaced. TABOR will provide $213,000 to repair the parking lot.

Crumbling Parking Lot

Leon Parking Lot

#6 Sport Courts Replacement – Thorndale and Boulder Parks

The city has a total of 42 tennis and basketball courts that need to be replaced.  If 2B passes, $400,000 will be used to restore four tennis courts in Boulder and Thorndale Parks.  The friends of Boulder Park and local residents are working with Parks staff to make changes and improvements to the neighborhood park.

“The Economic Benefits of Parks in Colorado Springs” released in 2017 showed how parks benefit our community financially. Houses and apartments are worth more if they are located near parks and trails.  But when playing courts are cracked and unsafe and in some cases even padlocked – parks are unlikely  to increase property values. If 2B passes, Boulder and Thorndale parks will improve as neighborhood assets.

Cracked Tennis Court

Padlocked Court

#7 Panorama Park Master Plan Implementation

Arguably, one of the city’s most exciting park projects is Panorama Park. The 13.5-acre park is located along Fenton Road near S. Chelton Rd, adjacent to Panorama Middle School. The southeastern community has re-envisioned the park and created an awe-inspiring Master Plan including: an adventure trail, a new playground, multi-use ball courts, sports fields, all ages fitness area, a water spray feature, a community gathering space and more.

Total project cost is estimated to be $5-7 million, TABOR retention will contribute $500,000. This will be the largest park renovation in city history! When completed the park will become a great neighborhood asset in an under-served part of Colorado Springs.

Panorama Park

Master Plan

#8 Trail Improvements – Homestead, Legacy Loop, Mesa and Sand Creek

Our system trails are so important to our community. Unfortunately, we have miles of crumbling asphalt trails.  These 2B dollars will be used to address some of the worst segments on the Homestead, Mesa, Sand Creek Trails and portions of the Legacy Loop.  $1 million dollars sounds like a lot of money, but constructing just one mile of concrete trail currently costs $1 million. And as much as we love our TOPS program, TOPS dollars can only be spent to repair trails if they were purchased by TOPS – it’s the law. Our older city trails are deteriorating rapidly as a result because there isn’t enough general fund support to fix them.  2B will help!

Old Crumbling Asphalt

Damaged Trail

#9 Cemetery Parking Lots Evergreen and Fairview

Cemeteries and Golf Courses fall under the “Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services” umbrella. As “enterprises” they are required to pull their own weight. But the parking lots in our two historic cemeteries are badly in need of repair. 2B will provide $45,000 in funding for a safe and improved experience for residents and visitors of Evergreen and Fairview Cemeteries.

Fairview Parking Lot

Parking Lot

#10 Community Park Master Plan – Norman “Bulldog” Coleman Park

Community Parks are generally 25 to 100 acres in size and are built to serve the needs and desires of several neighborhoods as well as community-wide needs. Memorial, America the Beautiful, Palmer, Monument Valley and Venezia are all Community Parks. There is no community park east of Powers Blvd despite the rapid residential growth.
Coleman Park is a 54 acre site with great  potential that could be expanded. If successful, 2B would provide $242,000 for the planning process. TOPS could then be used to help build the park and leverage lottery dollars for the project. It all starts with a master plan.

Coleman Park Area

Potential Community Park

History of Coleman Park

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is TABOR and why is there a refund?

Tabor stands for the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. It requires a vote of the people for any proposed tax. It also creates a cap on the amount of tax a city, county or state can collect. If the cap is exceeded due to an improving economy, the excess must be refunded to residents unless voters decide otherwise.

What happens if I vote for giving the Tabor refund to Parks?

If you vote “yes”, $7 million will go directly to city  parks to address  10 specific critical needs. This is “one time” money that will only be used for parks department related projects.

Why were these 10 projects chosen?

We are approaching our 150th birthday as a city – our sesquicentennial. Our city’s Founder, General William Palmer “envisioned a grand and gracious park system ringing the community.”1. He donated land accordingly. Acacia, Antlers and Alamo were some of our earliest parks. Monument Valley Park and Palmer Park were gifts from the General to the people of Colorado Springs. The land that eventually became Boulder Park was also owned by General Palmer. Many of the projects have a connection to our Founder. What better way to carry on his legacy than to improve upon his dream and restore these parks to their former glory? Other projects were selected based on the park system master plan and key projects located throughout our community.

If I vote for the $31 refund/household, will I receive a check?

No, you will receive a credit on a  future utility bill.

When will the $7 million be spent on the projects?

The 10 projects will require a variety of planning, public input, construction and a competitive bidding process for completion. City Parks Staff already have 2020 projects they are committed to completing and if approved by voters they will incorporate these projects into their work plan.

Who is allowed to vote on this issue?

All registered voters living in the city of Colorado Springs are encouraged to take part in the November election.

What can I do to help get this passed?

You will receive a ballot in the mail  in October. Be sure to vote! Learn more about the projects at www.voteyesforparks.com and encourage your friends and neighbors to become informed.

Is this TABOR question linked to other TABOR questions on the November ballot?

No. The State’s TABOR question (Proposition CC) asks voters if the State can keep excess revenue for  transportation and education purposes. 2B only applies to Colorado Springs residents and provides dollars for parks and trails.

Do Parks need the Money?

The Parks Department took a huge hit back in 2010 during the recession when General Fund Support was reduced from nearly 20 million to 3 million. General Fund support has not returned to pre-recession levels, yet costs to maintain parks and trail have increased. The list of Parks Capital needs/projects grows each year – well over $150 million. It makes sense to invest in our parks when we have the dollars available.