Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Help with Rainbow Falls makeover

Posted By on Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Rainbow Falls, in better days.
  • Rainbow Falls, in better days.

First it was Rainbow Falls, then it was (unofficially) Graffiti Falls, now it's Rainbow Falls again.

Citizens are reclaiming a natural jewel that lies near Manitou Springs, a stunning waterfall that lies under the shadow of U.S. 24. But turning it into a outdoors paradise, rather than a perfect spot for spray painting and drug use, is a bit of a challenge.

The county is asking citizens to give their input on the transformation at 6 p.m. Thursday at Manitou Springs City Hall.

El Paso County Holds Community Meeting Regarding Rainbow Falls Future Development
Citizens’ Input Invited For Creation of Rainbow Falls Master Plan

Colorado Springs, November 2, 2010 — Since receiving ownership of Rainbow Falls in July 2010, El Paso County has been diligently working with vested community partners and agencies to ensure the long-term restoration and vision for this valued landmark and community resource. Another important step in the future development of Rainbow Falls — located on the west side of Manitou Springs — involves citizen input, including a community forum on Thursday, November 18, from 6:00-8:30 p.m., at City Hall in Manitou Springs, 606 Manitou Ave. This public meeting is an opportunity for community members to help shape the future of the park and comment on preliminary goals and objectives for the Rainbow Falls Master Plan, coordinated through the El Paso County Parks Division.

"Rainbow Falls has significant historical and cultural features in addition to providing an important potential connection to our regional trail system, and it is our real desire to define a lasting plan for its restoration and protection," said Community Services Director Tim Wolken, whose supervision includes County Parks. "Our Parks Division and other stakeholders are creating a Master Plan that will consist of short- and long-term development priorities and management strategies for Rainbow Falls. Recreational use and management, erosion, water quality and vandalism are among the key issues that will be addressed."

"El Paso County already has initiated community clean-up activities for Rainbow Falls, and we’re committed to its ongoing preservation as a scenic, historic, local attraction," said Commissioner Sallie Clark, who has advocated for the restoration of the Falls since 2004, when she was first elected to represent District 3 where the park resides. "I strongly encourage citizens throughout El Paso County to attend the November 18 public meeting and help us build a plan for its future vitality and use."

In 2007, during a preliminary study of the regional trail system connections in the area, Rainbow Falls was identified as an important natural and community resource. A determined group of community open space interests and individuals — with the help of County Commissioner Sallie Clark, Manitou Environmental Citizens Action (MECA), the Manitou Springs Planning Department and El Paso County Parks — initiated a preliminary park feasibility study. The County then moved forward to secure ownership of the property with the intent of developing and managing the property as a community park.

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