The four land parcels, 352 acres, in the Briargate area are being donated to the City of Colorado Springs. It’s the largest donation from a developer, High Valley Land Co (La Plata Communities), to the TOPS program. These will be the first TOPS properties in northeast Colorado Springs. There are no designated trails, yet. The land by John Venezia has social trails, many people were unaware that this was private land.
The largest parcel, 186.6 acers near Powers Blvd and Interquest Pkwy, will become Kettle Creek Open Space. As with all Open Space, the top priority will be land conservation. An environmental assessment will be conducted and may allow for a trail system in the future. The 2014 Park System Master Plan identified the Kettle Creek Greenway as high quality natural resource, an area to consider for protection in advance of development and a candidate for acquisition. There is also potential to acquire a conjoining 153-acer parcel.
In November 2022, the TOPS committee voted to support the acquisition. Moving the donation forward, but the process is not yet complete.
The land is a habitat for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, a threatened species. Preble’s meadow jumping mice are mostly nocturnal and hibernate in upland areas for eight months of the year, making them difficult to observe. The jumping mice prefer riparian areas and wet meadows. The live in dense shrub, grass along creeks and rivers. From early fall through the spring, they hibernate underground in burrows that are typically at the base of vegetation.
Land Exchange Transaction Elements
• Donation to the TOPS Program of 352.32 acres by High Valley Land Company.
• Purchase by the Colorado Springs Fire Department of 4.472 acres owned by La Plata Communities for an updated appraised value of $510,000.
• Sale to La Plata Communities of approximately 44.82 acres, at the proposed Larry Ochs Sports Complex property for a negotiated value of $5,147,500. Parks to retain 13 acres at the south boundary of the Larry Ochs property. Provide La Plata Communities an opportunity to purchase the remaining 13 acres at appraised value. Parks originally purchased this property for $2,657,160 from La Plata Communities in 2003 but was unable to persuade the community to accept a sports complex at this site.
History: 2014 Park System Master Plan identifies Kettle Creek as a candidate area for acquisition. Four land parcels were preposed for donation to TOPS in November 2022, to support the Habitat Conservation Plan an effect to protect the endangered Preble’s meadow jumping mouse.
Future: The City is negotiating a land exchange to acquire an additional 153 acres near Powers and Hwy 83. These Land Exchanges must be reviewed by City Council and approved by resolution. City Council may impose conditions on the Land Exchange. Depending on City assessments, the property could feature a trail system that is compatible with the environmental needs of the wildlife.
This Open Space is managed by City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services: (719) 385-5940. For more info visit coloradosprings.gov/parks.