Saturday, December 31, 2016

City closes deal with The Broadmoor for Strawberry Fields

Posted By on Sat, Dec 31, 2016 at 3:20 PM

Richard Skorman gave tours of Strawberry Fields last spring and summer. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Richard Skorman gave tours of Strawberry Fields last spring and summer.
Without issuing a notice to the public, the city apparently quietly closed the deal on Strawberry Fields with The Broadmoor in recent days.

More on that is below from an email sent by Parks Director Karen Palus to various parks officials and others on Friday.

Richard Skorman, former vice mayor and president of nonprofit Save Cheyenne, which is opposing the land swap, says the closing doesn't stop the group's efforts to undo the May 2016 City Council vote. Save Cheyenne had filed a lawsuit objecting to the trade of 189-acre Strawberry Fields open space, which was purchased by the city in 1885 after voters voted in favor of acquisition. District Judge Michael McHenry recently ruled against the group, however.

But Save Cheyenne will file its appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals next week, Skorman says.

"If we are successful on appeal, we're going to ask the court to reverse this deal," he tells the Independent in an interview on Saturday. "We want to make sure there's no major construction [in the meantime]. The good part is The Broadmoor will have to go through the planning process before they start moving dirt."

Pending further advancement of the trade, Skorman says Save Cheyenne might ask the district court to stay progress pending the appeal.

Palus' letter:

I wanted to let you know that the land exchange with the Broadmoor has been closed. All necessary documents, including the conservation easement held by the Palmer Land Trust, have been executed and recorded.

Through this exchange, the City gained 371 acres of property and 115 acres of new public trail easements that include an expanded North Cheyenne Cañon Park, secured property for the Manitou Incline, expanded Bear Creek Park, and secured easements for the Chamberlain Trail, Barr Trail, South Cañon Trail, and trails to Hully Gully.

The land exchange from the City to The Broadmoor includes 180+ acres of the area called Strawberry Hill, as well as .55 acres adjacent to the Cog railway. A conservation easement has been placed with the Palmer Land Trust upon the 180+ acres of Strawberry Hill that was transferred to The Broadmoor; the public will continue to have access to all but 8.5 acres of the Strawberry Hill property to ensure conservation and recreation values are protected and public access is provided to the property in perpetuity. The conservation easement defines only an 8.5 acre private building envelope within the 180+ acre parcel to develop a picnicking area, horse stables and trail. In addition, the City received a public access easement over the entire parcel except the building envelope.

Public park master plan processes for the Strawberry Hill property and North Cheyenne Cañon Park will begin in 2017.

I want to personally thank you all for your engagement, thoughtful dialogue and creative approaches to the success of this project!

I hope each of you have a very Happy New Year!

Have a great day!

Karen



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