Tuesday, January 10, 2017

UPDATE: Parks benefit Colorado Springs economically, study shows

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 11:06 AM

click to enlarge The Broadmoor is hosting a meeting that will likely lay the groundwork for a sales tax increase proposal. - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • The Broadmoor is hosting a meeting that will likely lay the groundwork for a sales tax increase proposal.
UPDATE:
Regarding the question of who's funding the use of The Broadmoor for this event, the city communications office offers this:

El Pomar’s Pikes Peak Recreation and Tourism Heritage Series is hosting the release event for the TPL economic benefit study and has arranged for the space. The TPL economic benefit study was privately funded for the City of COS. No City funding has gone into this program.

—ORIGINAL POST 11:06 A.M. TUES., JAN. 10, 2017—

A report showing how important parks are to economic development will be unveiled on Thursday at The Broadmoor, likely part of the effort to place a tax hike on the April city election ballot for parks maintenance.

Parks advocates apparently want to raise the sales tax by 0.1 of a percent, though no official presentation has been made to City Council so far.

We sought the economic development report, dubbed "Economic Benefits Study," last week under the Colorado Open Records Act, but the city denied access on both Friday and Monday saying the report remained in draft form at that time. Here's the city's denial:
A search of City files located no record responsive to your request, which we interpret as a request for the final Economic Benefits Study. At this time, the requested record is in draft form and has not been finalized by the third parties who are completing the study. However, it is the understanding of the City that a final report will be available on
January 12, 2017.
So if you want to see the report when it's presented on Thursday, feel free to attend, because the event has been posted as an open meeting for City Council, many members of which are likely to attend. The meeting notice is the third one down.
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Here's the city's news release announcing the meeting at The Broadmoor on Thursday:
The City of Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation System’s Economic Benefits Study will be released on Thursday, Jan 12 from 4-6 pm as a part of El Pomar Foundation's Pikes Peak Recreation and Tourism’s Heritage Series. The event will take place at The Broadmoor, Little Theater, 1 Colorado Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80906. The report will be presented by the Trust for Public Land followed by a panel discussion.

A new report by The Trust for Public Land shows that the parks and recreation system in Colorado Springs generates hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits each year. “The economic benefits study gives us quantifiable information on the benefits of our park system that we have long recognized but considered too difficult to quantify. The report will be an asset for promoting Colorado Springs as an incredible place to live, work, and vacation,” says Mayor John Suthers.

Colorado Springs’ public parks and recreation system includes nearly 14,370 acres of parks and open spaces, over 150 miles of trails, and numerous recreation and cultural facilities. These amenities include: Garden of the Gods Park, Monument Valley Park, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, Meadows Park Community Center, Starsmore Discovery Center and many more.

The parks and recreation system provides seven major economic benefits that are measureable: health, tourism, economic development, property value, stormwater infiltration, clean air, and recreational use. “The strong results of this analysis demonstrate that the parks and recreation system in Colorado Springs provides real economic value to the community’s residents and businesses,” says Karen Palus, City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director.

The report was prepared for the City of Colorado Springs by economists at The Trust for Public Land. "For years, we have talked about the intangible benefits of the park and recreation system in Colorado Springs, but until now we have never had an economic analysis that put a dollar value on the benefits of the parks, trails, open spaces, and recreational facilities," says Jim Petterson, The Trust for Public Land’s Colorado State Director.

“El Pomar Heritage Series seeks to bring together key organizations, stakeholders and leaders to discuss how the region can best promote and protect recreation and tourism in a diverse economy with high quality of life,” says R. Thayer Tutt Jr. President and Chief Investment Officer, El Pomar Foundation.

About The Heritage Series

Utilizing the Penrose Legacy to inspire discussion, understanding, and promotion of our regional outdoor assets, El Pomar Foundation launched the Pikes Peak Recreation and Tourism Heritage Series in 2015. The intent is to increase knowledge and interest in an important part of the region's economy and quality of life.

About The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.
It's worth noting that The Broadmoor just closed on a land swap deal with the city in which it acquired the controversial 189-acre Strawberry Fields open space. One argument for trading it to the resort focused on the city's limited resources available to maintain the property.

We've asked how much the city is paying, if anything, for use of The Broadmoor space for this event and will circle back if and when we get an answer.

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