In a surprise move, Broadmoor president and CEO Steve Bartolin announced Monday night the resort won't pursue closing 3,000 feet of Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard to accommodate golf-course expansion.
Speaking to a crowd of 190 Broadmoor area residents in Broadmoor Hall, Bartolin drew applause with his announcement. He said that after months of analysis, planners concluded that "the only way to make this work is vacating Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard."
And "from the beginning," Bartolin said, "I pledged we would not take away any emergency evacuation capacity."
Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard links Penrose Boulevard with Mirada Road and is one of the few evacuation routes from the vicinity, including from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. An escape route would be crucial in case of a wildland fire.
"After the Waldo Canyon Fire and the Black Forest Fire," Bartolin said, "we just felt politically and from a common-sense standpoint, vacating that road and taking away an evacuation route wasn't going to fly."
The Broadmoor wanted to close the road to expand a golf course to the minimum 8,100 yards needed at this altitude to qualify to host a men's U.S. Open or other premier event. The proposal, never officially filed with the city, drew opposition from neighbors; 434 had signed an online petition against it, and several complained that when they wrote to Mayor Steve Bach about the matter, it was the Broadmoor, not Bach, who responded.
One person in the crowd who was particularly happy with the decision was Broadmoor Fire Protection District Chief Noel Perran, who said he wasn't consulted on the road closing. "I had confidence the right decision would be made in the end," he said. "Strictly from a firefighting perspective, I'm glad we won't lose a valuable exit through the golf course."
Bartolin and others have said a major golfing event would bring $160 million in economic impact to the region. Monday night, he said the resort would continue to pursue such events and to find ways to "add value to our neighborhood and community."