Friday, March 25, 2016

Making a statement on Broadmoor land swap

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 4:01 PM

click to enlarge Someone has left their commentary on the city's park sign in North Cheyenne Canon Park. - ANONYMOUS
  • Anonymous
  • Someone has left their commentary on the city's park sign in North Cheyenne Canon Park.

With the sudden appearance of this "for sale" sign in North Cheyenne Cañon Park, we suppose it's as good a time as any to remind everyone that the next public meeting about the city's proposed swap of land with The Broadmoor will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Gold Camp Elementary School, 1805 Preserve Dr.

The most controversial component of the plan is the transfer of 189-acre Strawberry Fields to the resort, which plans to use it for a horse stable and pavilion for weddings of up to 100 people. (That's a pretty small affair, actually.) Although there's been no specific plans made public for that usage, The Broadmoor indicates it will use only seven to nine acres and place the remaining acreage into a conservation easement. Which likely will result in, as Donald Trump would say, a "YUGE" tax benefit for The Broadmoor.

Wednesday's meeting is important, because it's the setting for the city's release of its formal appraisals of all the property involved in the swap, including swaths at Manitou Incline and Barr Trail the city wants, as well as about 200 acres around Mount Muscoco to the west of Strawberry Fields. The Broadmoor has said it's not a willing seller of the incline and Barr Trail property, but is willing trade if it can have the Strawberry Fields open space.

Go here for an explanation of the plan.

The city has called it an "exciting" opportunity, and Mayor John Suthers wholeheartedly endorses it.

Not that it means anything, but Broadmoor Chairman Steve Bartolin and CEO and President Jack Damioli each gave Suthers $500 in campaign donations in his 2015 mayoral bid, and The Broadmoor itself picked up a $4,391.36 tab for his campaign.

It's possible more money from Broadmoor interests flowed into Suthers' coffers through Colorado Springs Forward, a group of well-connected local movers and shakers. But we can't know, because the Colorado Springs Forward Political Action Committee reported only that Colorado Springs Forward gave it tens of thousands of dollars, but CSF itself didn't report sources for that money. So the CFS PAC gave Suthers $7,500. All together, however, Suthers raised about $400,000, so the Broadmoor's donations came to only about 1.4 percent of his total.

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