The Broadmoor may seem like a city unto itself.
The luxury hotel and grounds cover some 5,000 acres. It has upscale restaurants. A lake. A pool. A spa. A conference center. Several golf courses. But like any other business, The Broadmoor, which contributes millions of dollars a year to Colorado Springs' tax coffers, relies on the city's network of roads.
Still, you could be forgiven for thinking some of those roads are private — and not just because of their picturesque appearance. Some observers say the hotel, which is owned by influential billionaire Philip Anschutz, allows staff to drive off-road-only vehicles (like golf carts) down them with impunity — and they say police don't appear to be intervening either. Given that the city has often been viewed as treating Anschutz with a light hand, some in the neighborhood have questioned whether the police are ignoring an illegal use of public roads.
In order to find out more, the Indy visited that area recently to see what kind of vehicles were using the road. To drive around The Broadmoor, one takes Lake Circle, Mesa and Park avenues, El Pomar Road, Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard, Miranda Road and Pourtales Road back to Lake Avenue. Those are all city roads, though notably, The Broadmoor made a play several years ago to close Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard, which cuts through one of its golf courses. The idea triggered vigorous opposition with neighbors arguing the street provides crucial egress from the foothills if a wildfire strikes. The Broadmoor later decided to drop the plan.
On the Indy's visit, we quickly spotted a suspect vehicle on a public road. A white Tiger Truck went about its business along Park Avenue, which runs on the west side of the resort. No license plate was visible and a label on its hood said, "Off road use only." While it did not bear Broadmoor identification, the truck was carrying gardening tools near the hotel.
So is the truck roadworthy? According to Mike Felder, with Tiger Truck Industries International, Inc., of Poteau, Oklahoma, "We actually sell them as off-road vehicles, not to be driven on the street and not to exceed 25 mph."
The model in question can carry a "heavy duty payload of over 2,000 lbs. and [has] a 9 ft. long and 5 ft. wide bed for maximum work performance," according to Tiger Trucks' website. It has "a small but powerful engine" that provides "amazing hauling and towing capacity."
Felder advises that each state is different on how they license vehicles, so we checked with the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office on that, providing a photo of the Tiger Truck used at The Broadmoor.
"This would be considered the same class as a KEI mini truck," spokesman Ryan Parsell says in an email, citing motor vehicle division rules. "As an off road vehicle it's not titled and registered through our office. It's registered through Park and Rec. Once registration is obtained through [state] Park and Rec it can be used on non-public roads and highways such as private property and parks. They cannot be used on city streets since it is classified for 'off road use only.'"
Referring to the Colorado State Parks and Wildlife Division, Parsell notes, "Any vehicles that aren't street worthy are registered through them." But he adds that even if licensed, "I don't think it would make it street legal."
Given that, it would seem the truck was using the city's streets illegally, but we asked the Colorado Springs Police Department to let us know for sure, and to comment on whether police were cracking down on such vehicles. But, commenting via email, Spokesman Lt. Howard Black said, "I don't know that they are illegal... I have no information on this being problematic around the Broadmoor Hotel."
The Broadmoor didn't respond to emails seeking comment.