Thursday, July 27, 2017

Parks, trails and open space advocate awarded with Spirit of the Springs

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 10:32 AM

click to enlarge Mayor John Suthers, left, awards longtime trails and open space supporter Lee Milner an award to recognize his volunteer service. - COURTESY LEE MILNER
  • Courtesy Lee Milner
  • Mayor John Suthers, left, awards longtime trails and open space supporter Lee Milner an award to recognize his volunteer service.
During a gathering to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Trails, Open Space and Parks tax initiative on Wednesday, July 26, Mayor John Suthers recognized people who were key to the success of the measure.

Between 300 and 400 people showed up to the Penrose House pavilion for the event.

Suthers noted that TOPS has funded the construction of 46.8 miles of trails, acquisition of 4,723 acres of open space and development of 37 park projects.

It was used, for example, to purchase Stratton Open Space in the city's southwest, and, most recently, helped fund construction of the John Venezia Community Park in the north part of town.

TOPS generates about $8 million a year.

Suthers recognized Lee Milner for a Spirit of the Springs award for his dedication to parks, trails and open space.

"He has perhaps done more than anyone else to keep open space and trail issues at the forefront of our community consciousness," he said, according to a transcript of his remarks.

Besides campaigning for the successful ballot measure in 1997, Milner also worked for passage of the extension in 2003. He's served multiple terms on the TOPS Working Committee.

"He has been effective over so many years because he recognizes the larger context — the connection between open space and quality of life, trails and economic vitality, parks and property values, storm water and greenways," Suthers said.

Suthers also recognized the Trails and Open Space Coalition with a Spirit award, noting, "They truly care about our trails and open spaces and are great partners with the city."

Suthers didn't mention that TOSC's board of directors supported Suthers' trade of the 189-acre Strawberry Fields open space to The Broadmoor last year in exchange for trails acreage as well as about 200 wildland acres near Mount Muscoco.

The swap is in the courts after a nonprofit, Save Cheyenne, formed amid the controversial deal.

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