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Reader: I don't even know where to begin with the North Cheyenne Cañon Master Plan 

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There are so many things wrong with the proposed North Cheyenne Cañon Master Plan that I don't even know where to begin.

Perhaps closing Mesa Avenue at Evans, and only allowing shuttles? Or maybe closing convenient pullout parking in the South Cañon, thereby making picnicking difficult? Paving Gold Camp Road? All when "budget and timing prevented a qualitative parking survey"?

These items and more were a part of the original plan. In the revised final version of the NCC Master Plan, however, the Parks Department demonstrated their response to the public (a petition with over 4,000 signatures), and now states it will "engage the public in the process" for the last three items in the "toolbox": shuttles, traffic control options (fees), and park entrance (including road closures).

While this may seem like an improvement, it's not. The same concepts are still there, but now they will require yet another lengthy (and costly!) public process. Make no mistake about what your parks department thinks is the best option: "Of the conceptual site plans considered only 8.3 fully unifies South Cañon to the rest of the Park."

In Conceptual Plan 8.3, the most troublesome image on the map is the proposed destruction of the covered Mesa Picnic Area behind Starsmore in order to build a shuttle bus parking lot. With my 4-year old son and his preschool class, I explored the creek, hiked the trails behind Starsmore, and learned how to cup my hands around my ears to hear like a deer.

If that area becomes a giant parking lot, the children of Colorado Springs will have lost one of the truly magical places that feels "wild," even though it's right in our own backyard.

Our mayor and parks department seem to care more about bringing in the almighty tourist dollar than they do about giving the citizens of Colorado Springs what we have already paid for with our tax dollars.

(See North Cheyenne Cañon Master Plan, Conceptual Plan 8.3, Appendix C13 coloradosprings.gov/nccmasterplan).

— Sue Spengler, Colorado Springs

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