Land swap news
The city's Parks Advisory Board votes on a recommendation for or against the city's land swap with The Broadmoor at 7:30 a.m. Thursday at 1401 Recreation Way.
Meantime, emails are pouring in to Mayor John Suthers' and City Council offices from opponents of the deal. Most base their opposition on the city trading away the 189-acre Strawberry Fields open space in Cheyenne Cañon, where the resort wants to locate a horse stable and picnic pavilion for its guests on an 8.5-acre meadow. The Broadmoor has vowed to impose a conservation easement and allow public access on the other 180 acres.
A city spokesperson says the mayor's office isn't receiving any emails backing the trade, which would give the city more than 400 acres of trail easements and rugged area near Mount Muscoco, but added, "Most people will send letters to voice their opposition more often than sending emails in support."
The issue has strained relationships, evidenced by the Trails and Open Space Coalition asking longtime supporter and former vice mayor Richard Skorman to leave its advisory board, which he did, as first reported by the Indy's blog.
Skorman opposes the swap, while TOSC's board has approved it subject to conditions, some of which have yet to be met. Open space supporter Kent Obee, who's chaired the Parks Advisory Board, also resigned from the TOSC advisory board, citing his objection to the swap.
During a briefing to City Council on Monday, Suthers' Chief of Staff Jeff Greene said a review now underway of all the appraisals will be released to the public, along with the appraisals themselves. That's an about-face by the city, which denied the appraisals when the Indy sought them through an open-records request. Greene didn't say when they would be released, however.
Also on Monday, city officials seemed to close every option for opponents to try to block the trade, including seeking a public vote. While state law requires certain city land sales to be approved by voters, the City Attorney's Office concluded the city's home-rule powers and and real estate manual frees it from conducting an election.
However, Councilor Don Knight asked if the Council could place the measure on the ballot. While city legal advice was that "no," the city code doesn't allow for that, City Clerk Sarah Johnson said she's still researching the question.
Council is slated to take action on May 10. — PZ
Dear affidavits out
Search warrant and arrest warrant affidavits in the case of the Planned Parenthood shooting were released to the media Monday after a coalition of news outlets challenged their sealing.
Robert L. Dear, who turns 58 Saturday, is charged with 179 counts in connection with the Nov. 27 shooting that killed three people, including a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs officer, and wounded nine. To access the affidavits, go to tinyurl.com/jk8kdnm. — PZ
Arrested for sitting
Four people were cited during a demonstration Saturday in downtown Colorado Springs to protest City Council's passage of the Pedestrian Access Act, which bars people from sitting or lying on sidewalks and streets in certain areas.
Those cited are due in court May 3 and could be fined $500 each. They are Mark Chamberlain, 27; Alan Pitts, 32; Trygve Bundgaard, 36; and Cayla Norris, 32.
Police estimated about 125 in the protest, organized by The Coalition for Compassion and Action, an effort to end local homelessness. Other observers estimated closer to 200 were on hand. — PZ
Stadium study ongoing
With talk of the Sky Sox Triple-A baseball team bailing for San Antonio where a new downtown stadium might be built, it might be time to check in on Colorado Springs' downtown stadium project.
Highly controversial since being proposed by former Mayor Steve Bach in 2013, the project is undergoing a feasibility study ordered by Mayor John Suthers.
There's not much to report. Bob Cope, the city's economic development guru, says nonprofit Colorado Springs Forward has contracted for the study, which is underway. However, city officials won't say the cost, where the money is coming from or who is performing the study.
"We have no additional information," Cope says via email, and communications chief Jamie Fabos notes, "We don't know when it will be finished at this point."
The stadium is one of four proposed City for Champions projects to be funded with state sales tax money through the Regional Tourism Act. All must have made substantial progress within five years of being approved for funding, which happened in December 2013. — PZ