Thursday, May 10, 2018

Parks board approves Strawberry Fields, North Cheyenne Cañon plans

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2018 at 5:37 PM

click to enlarge A portion of Strawberry Fields open space. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • A portion of Strawberry Fields open space.
Two contentious master plans won approval on May 10 from the city's Parks Advisory Board, but in both cases, a couple of concessions were made.

First, the Strawberry Fields open space plan was unanimously approved, with the caveat added by the board that no ground would be broken toward construction The Broadmoor's picnic pavilion or stable until the court case involving the property ends.

That provision was added after The Broadmoor's CEO Jack Damioli announced the resort could agree to that.

The court case stems from a lawsuit filed by Save Cheyenne, a nonprofit that opposed a land swap approved in May 2016 to trade the open space to The Broadmoor in exchange for other property.

A district judge dismissed the lawsuit, so Save Cheyenne appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals, which earlier this year sided with the city and The Broadmoor. Save Cheyenne has since asked the state Supreme Court to hear the case and is waiting to hear if the court will do so. If it doesn't, the case is over. If it does hear the case, Save Cheyenne leader Kent Obee says, it means there's an aspect to the case that the court feels is worth review.

Obee called the provision to hold off on construction as "a silver lining" to the master plan's approval. "It's something I think we can live with," he tells the Indy. "It means we won't be seeing bulldozers in the next month or so."

The other master plan, for North Cheyenne Cañon, was approved on a vote of 6-3, the city reported in a news release.

The only concession made by the Parks Board, Obee says, was to change language regarding reducing the number of pullouts from 42 to 12. The new language could lead to closing fewer of them.

Other sticking points were opposition to the possibility of future shuttles, traffic controls and reconfiguring the south side of the canyon.

A motion to delay action for further negotiation with Friends of North Cheyenne Cañon failed.

Obee says opponents are already talking about appealing the masterplan for the canyon to City Council. "There is a procedure for doing that," he says.

Here's the city's news release about the actions:
The City of Colorado Springs’ Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Advisory Board voted to approve two masters plans at its regular meeting on May 10.

Strawberry Hill Master Plan
The parks board voted unanimously to adopt the Strawberry Hill Master Plan.

Public input over the past 2 ½ years helped shape the numerous terms and conditions that ensure continued public access to a new trail network to be built over the next five years and all but the 8.5 acre Building Envelope that will be developed for a picnic facility and small stable area. The Broadmoor will construct the trails and facilities and will be responsible for maintaining the property in accordance with a conservation easement held by The Palmer Land Trust.

Construction on the Strawberry Hill property, phase 1 of the plan and the creation of an erosion control plan will not commence until the completion of the current legal case that has been submitted to the Colorado Supreme Court.

North Cheyenne Cañon Park Master Plan
The new master and management plan for North Cheyenne Cañon Park has been approved by the parks board by a 6-3 vote. The plan will guide use and management of the park for the next 10 to 15 years, providing a framework to accommodate a variety of recreational uses while also taking care of the land, its history and the natural environment.
Some highlights of the North Cheyenne Cañon Master Plan:
• 350+ residents participated in the drafting of the plan
• The park will expand from 19 to 35 miles of trails
• New interpretive programs will be offered
• Recommendation of improved parking and additional trailheads
• Criteria for keeping or removing pullouts
• Recommendation to hire additional seasonal employees

The plan was drafted using public feedback gathered online and during several workshops over the past nine months. It focuses on approximately 1,855 acres of land, including the core park property, as well as the adjacent Cresta and Stratton Forest Open Spaces.

Trail building begins Saturday, June 16 with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (http://www.voc.org) scheduled to coordinate work on the Buffalo Canyon Trail at Helen Hunt Falls. Additional projects are planned for this summer.

Visit www.ColoradoSprings.NCCMasterPlan for more information. 

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