Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Regional Business Alliance weighs in on land swap

Posted By on Wed, May 4, 2016 at 11:58 AM

click to enlarge The Regional Business Alliance calls Strawberry Fields "an unsightly trash dump." - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • The Regional Business Alliance calls Strawberry Fields "an unsightly trash dump."
In a letter to City Council, the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance urges support of The Broadmoor land swap, saying the 189-acre Strawberry Fields open space is "nothing more than an unsightly trash dump."

The land the city would get from The Broadmoor, however, would give the city "more public access, more trails and open space, no public money spent on improvements and something of which we can be proud as citizens of this city."

The letter closes with this: "Let's be known for growing business, land stewardship and enhancing our trails and open space. The Regional Business Alliance urges you to support this exchange."

The letter, from RBA board chair Matt Coleman and President and CEO Dirk Draper, goes on to sing the praises of The Broadmoor's stewardship and presence here. "We have all benefitted from what has been done over the past 98 years since Mr. [Spencer] Penrose built the original hotel," it says.

Here's the letter:

In response, Councilor Bill Murray sent this email to the RBA:
This is not your best homework assignment. Once again the RBA feels compelled to enter a discussion that is best left up to the community it was expected to support. The Broadmoor history is marked by several different owners with different issues and opportunities to assist this city. The current owner has not demonstrated his compelling need for this property, nor our compelling need to transfer it to a private entity. You should be ashamed to admit that our parks property has been ill maintained. We need to investigate why it was not maintained rather than argue that we are unwilling or unable and therefore it should be traded. Should/can we say the same for the rest of our parks in the city?
We have no need of the property being offered and the Barr trail is part of a current legislative action that gives permanent easement of the trail to the USFS in return for Emerald Valley land exchange. So we need to take this property completely off the list. The Bear Creek property should be assigned to the County, since it is adjacent to their park and taken off the list. The accessibility of the property west of Muscoco is questionable at best but not in our best interests to own. We still have no cost-benefit analysis of the Manitou Incline. The public has clearly stated it is not in favor of this transfer. We should let them vote as they did in 1885.
It's worth noting that the RBA is quite active in politics and has given thousands of dollars in City Council and mayoral races through its political action committee. Murray was not supported by the RBA PAC when elected in 2015.

It's also worth noting that the RBA receives thousands of dollars from city taxpayers to help fund its activities.

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