City of Colorado Springs / Commissions & Committees / Parks and Recreation Advisory Board

Thursday, June 10, 2010



Parks and Recreation Advisory Board

June 10, 2010

1401 Recreation Way


Board Members Present:  Jim Schwerin, Kent Obee, Richard Eastland, Jill Gaebler, Nancy Hobbs, Mary Mashburn, Carl Reinhardt


Absent:  Kira Pasquesi, Richard Stettler


Opening:  Chair Jim Schwerin called the meeting to order at 7:32 a.m. 



Chair Schwerin announced that this was the time for any individual to bring before the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board any matter of interest they wish to discuss that is not on the agenda.


Section 16:  Susan Davies, Executive Director of Trails and Open Space Coalition, said that the acquisition of the Section 16 is moving forward.  This project has been worked on since 1980s and TOSC has been working diligently towards the acquisition of the property. 


In terms of maintenance, Section 16 already has trails in place.  TOSC is currently working with the Parks Department regarding the Volunteer Stewardship Plan and they plan on recruiting volunteers to address some of the maintenance issues at Section 16.


Ms. Davies requested that the Parks Board support the acquisition of Section 16.  Many citizens would like to see Section 16 preserved as an open space and for it to be used by the public.  At this time, a GOCO grant in the amount of $1 million and TOPS funds are available to purchase the property.


Upcoming Events:  Bill Koerner, Advocacy Director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC), announced the following upcoming events:


-         Starlight Spectacular, an annual midnight bicycle ride, is scheduled on Saturday, June 12th, 12:00 a.m. at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center.  The bike ride will take place in Garden of the Gods park.


-          A hike to top of the Cheyenne Mountain is scheduled on June 26th.  This is for the TOSC members only.  For further information or to sign up for a membership, contact TOSC.



Kurt Schroeder, Manager of Parks, Trails and Open Space, introduced Assistant City Manager Nancy Johnson who is in charge of the Community, Infrastructure and Development, which includes the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department.  The Parks staff reports to Ms. Johnson.


Ms. Johnson said that she began her career in the Parks and Recreation Department (Long Beach and San Jose, California) then became an Assistant City Manager at Norfolk, Virginia prior to coming to Colorado Springs as an Assistant City Manager.  She said that the City of Colorado Springs, particularly the Parks Department, has been facing difficult budget situations in the past two years.  However, the sales tax is coming back up this year.  Ms. Johnson said that it will take some time but she is cautiously optimistic about the future and hopes to re-stabilize the Parks Department, from a financial standpoint.



Staff requested that the approval of the May 13, 2010 minutes be delayed until the July 8th meeting.




Service Awards   (Item #1)

The City of Colorado Springs annually recognizes those employees who have reached five-year milestones in their career.  The following employees were recognized by their supervisors and presented with certificates:

-    Joshua Roach (10 years), Park Technician - Parks Division

-    Michael Reel (5 years), Park Technician - Parks Division

-    Bradley Engler (5 years), Park Technician - Parks Division

-    Derek Meisner (5 years), Park Technician - Parks Division

-    Dennis Will (5 years), Electrician - Parks Division


Westside Community Center LLC Presentation   (Item #2)

Dick Siever, Director of the Westside Community Center LLC, provided a presentation regarding the plans and services which will be provided at the Westside Community Center LLC.


Highlights of Mr. Siever's presentation are as follows:


-         The Westside Community Center LLC (the LLC) has agreed to operate the Westside Community Center (the Center).  The LLC was formed by the Center for Strategic Ministry, which was created by the Woodmen Valley Chapel several years ago, as a supporting organization to reach out to the community to develop programs, services and ministries.


-         The LLC is interested in operating the Center because they want to help the community in time of need and to promote strong social well being in the Westside neighborhood.  They believe in healthy and successful children, strong families and thriving older adults.  The LLC is currently operating a pre-school and elementary school programs. 


The LLC also wants to expand the Woodmen Valley Chapel's community service program by helping to strengthen and expand the Westside Community Center.  The LLC will provide volunteer opportunities for the Westside neighbors and A.C.T.S. (A Call to Serve), which is an outreach ministry.


-         The LLC is planning to create a fun and welcoming gathering place where they can foster hope, serve with compassion and demonstrate God?s love and grace.  The LLC is not planning to turn the Center into a church but they want to help support those in need in the Westside neighborhood by developing programs and services with their partners (i.e. Pikes Peak Community Action Agency, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, Silver Key Senior Services, Westside Cares, Greccio Housing and Organization of Westside Neighbors).


-         The LLC will develop programs with a focus on pre-school and after school, art for all ages, teens, seniors, families, workforce skill development and wellness.  The programs will be develop based on the citizens input.  The LLC is planning to hold a number of community events (i.e. open houses, Westside Roundup on June 26th and community picnics in June and July) and communicate through flyers, posters, OWN newsletter and websites ( when appropriate.


-         Regarding the LLC's financial plan, they will solicit private and non-profit gifts and program grants, develop business sponsorships for programs, apply for scholarships, address capital needs and implement a sustainable economic model.  Currently, they have a dire need for buses.


-         The LLC is planning to implement a sustainable model, which includes $10 per hour room rental fee for classes and workshops sponsored by the Center, utilizing volunteers whenever possible, implementing facility fees and operations fees, and submitting grant applications.


There was a discussion between the Board members and Mr. Siever regarding setting limits on charges for classes, establishing scholarship fund for those in need, screening volunteers (i.e. background checks), setting criteria for the instructors (i.e. certified), on-site parking, maintenance agreement with the City (i.e. mowing), funds from School District #11 regarding building deficiencies, licenses, contract with the City (expires on December 2012) and renewal options.


Mr. Siever invited the Board members to attend an open house which is scheduled on June 26th at 11:30 a.m.



Kurt Schroeder, Manager of Parks, Trails and Open Space, provided the following report:


Julie Penrose and Uncle Wilber Fountain:  Julie Penrose fountain began operating on Memorial Day weekend.  Staff is currently working on a mechanical piece for the Uncle Wilber fountain.  The fountain was schedule to begin operating on June 12th but it will be delayed.  A celebration of the fountain with the public is tentatively scheduled for mid-July.


"Click It or Ticket" Pilot Program:  The City of Colorado Springs is partnering with the State of Colorado (State Patrol) on pilot program promoting seatbelts by putting striped signs ("Click It or Ticket") in parking lot in parks (i.e. Memorial Park, Gossage Sports Complex, etc.) and throughout the community.


4th of July Events in Colorado Springs:  The 4th of July event which was traditionally held in Memorial Park will not be there this year but in other locations throughout the City:

-          Family Fourth at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site - July 4th, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

-          Pikes Peak Arts Fest at America the Beautiful Park - July 3rd, 4th and 5th at 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

-          Fireworks at the Air Force Academy - July 4th 4:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.


South Slope Tours:  Guided hikes, sponsored by the Parks Department, Trails and Open Space Coalition and the Friends of the Peak, are scheduled on June 27th, July 10th and 31st, August 8th and 28th, September 11th and September 25th.  The Trails and Open Space Coalition is taking reservation.  Staff will set up a separate tour date for the Parks Board members.


Manitou Incline:  Aimee Cox, Senior Analyst, said that a public meeting is scheduled on June 24th, 7:00 p.m. at the Manitou Spring City Hall.   Participants will have an opportunity to discuss goals, identify critical issues and provide input into the types of solutions they would like to see for the Manitou Incline.


There will be additional public meetings scheduled at Manitou Springs City Hall, focusing on specific issues:

-          July 13th - Traffic and Parking Focus Area Session, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

-          July 14th - Trails and Trailhead Focus Area Session, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

-          July 15th - Management and Operations Focus Area Session, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.


After the public meetings, the consultant team will evaluate public input then develop alternatives, which will be presented to the Task Force.  The outcome of the Task Force meeting will be discussed at a public meeting in October.


Ms. Cox said that with the increased use of the Manitou Incline, traffic congestion, parking and safety have become an issue with the City of Manitou and the neighborhood.  The City of Manitou Springs will be enforcing parking on Ruxton Canyon (i.e. tickets, vehicle towing, etc.) as well as looking into street markings.


2011 Budget Process:  As the 2011 Budget process begins, the Department submitted "unavoidable" items to the Budget Department for their review.  The Department's budget issues will be submitted by the end of June.  In mid July, the Parks staff will be meeting with the Budget Review Committee to review issues and discuss the budget outlook in order for the staff to formulate the Department's budget for 2011.  Staff will present the Department's proposed budget and the fees and charges for 2011 to the Parks Board in July/August.  The Council's Budget worksession is scheduled on October 21st and 22nd with a public hearing scheduled on October 28th.  The Council's Budget Markup Session follows the public meeting with the first reading of the 2011 City budget scheduled on November 23rd Council meeting with a second reading on December 14th Council meeting.


In response to Chair Schwerin's question, Mr. Schroeder said that the facilities which are currently utilizing the reserve/Gift Trust funds (i.e. Rock Ledge Ranch, North Cheyenne Caņon, Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum and Senior Center), will have shortfalls without increased General Fund support in 2011.  Gift Trust funds have been depleted and must be replenished by donations.  It is possible that there may be additional cuts in these facilities but the final decision will be made by the Council.  This will be discussed with the Budget Review Committee in July.


In response to Mary Mashburn's questions, Mr. Schroeder explained how the adopt-a-park program is getting along.  In terms of vandalism, it continues.


In response to Vice Chair Obee's question regarding water, Mr. Schroeder said that there is deficit of moisture with the summer starting so dry.  Staff will use the entire amount that is in the budget for water to irrigate the parks.


In response to Carl Reinhardt question regarding watering medians on Nevada Avenue, Mr. Schroeder said that the budget for the maintenance of medians and right-of-ways have been eliminated from the 2010 budget.  However, the Department currently has a number of adopters who have adopted medians in downtown area and other locations (i.e. Colorado College, etc.).


Board Member Appointment:  Due to lack of applications for the vacant positions for the outgoing Board members (Jim Schwerin and Jill Gaebler), the Council decided to extend the deadline for the applications to June 4th.  Nancy Hobbs and Kira Pasquesi have submitted reappointment request letters to City Council.


The reception for the outgoing Board members will be scheduled after the July 8th Board meeting at 11:30 a.m.  Staff will notify the Board members of the location via email.


Westside Community Center LLC:  The Open House for the Westside Community Center LLC is scheduled on June 26th at 11:00 a.m.  (1628 W. Bijou Street)


Break:  8:51 a.m.

Reconvened:  9:06 a.m.




Evans Avenue Bridge Replacement Project at North Cheyenne Caņon Park   Item #4)

Sarah Bryarly, Interim Manager of Design, Development and TOPS, said that this item is a bridge replacement project at North Cheyenne Caņon Park, which is information only for the Board at this time.  There will be a series of public meetings regarding this project and once the planning process is completed the plan will be presented to the Board for its review on the recommendations.


The Evans Avenue Bridge, located within North Cheyenne Caņon Park, has been identified by City Engineering as structurally and hydraulically deficient and in need of replacement.  Staff is currently working with City Engineering, Matrix Design and PPRTA to identify alternative solutions.  During the overall planning process there is an opportunity to master plan for future improvements to the entrance of North Cheyenne Caņon.  However, no funding is available for improvements at this time.  If the bridge is replaced in its current location, the project will be considered an improvement to the existing structure and no amendment to the master plan will be required.  However, if the bridge is replaced at another location that would require the Parks Board's review as an amendment to the master plan.  A meeting with the Friends of North Cheyenne Caņon regarding the bridge improvement project was positive.


Dan Krueger with the City Engineering said that alternative locations for the bridge have been discussed due to unique configuration of the intersection on Evans Avenue.


Jerry Milliman, Structural Engineer and the Bridge Project Manager with the Matrix Design Group, provided an overview of the project.


Mr. Milliman said that the goal of the project is to replace a bridge in North Cheyenne Caņon area.  This will be a Federal-funded bridge replacement project which will cost approximately $840,000.  This bridge has the lowest bridge rating in the city of Colorado Springs.  There will be a number of public meetings which will be conducted through the end of 2010.  The plan and design is projected to be completed by January of 2011 with the construction of the bridge to follow.


Mr. Milliman said that the current bridge, which is over fifty years old, is not a stone masonry bridge but a reinforced concrete bridge with stone masonry guard rail.  The bridge has a telecommunication utilities attached to it.  It is a two-span structure which is thirty-five feet long and twenty feet wide, which does not meet the width requirement for two vehicles to pass.  This bridge is located within the boundaries of the North Cheyenne Caņon Park, which is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.  Preservation of the historic attributes of the bridge and the context of the site will be taken into consideration during the design of the new structure, while accommodating modern traffic.


The project challenges include the following:


-          The existing bridge is not wide enough for two vehicles to pass.  This needs to be changed in order to meet the standards of the Federally-funded projects.


-          The entrance to the park is currently not optimal.  It is difficult for the buses and trucks to navigate in this area and the site lines are difficult in this intersection.  Improvements are needed at the entrance.


-          The bridge must pass anticipated flows underneath.  The new bridge needs to be wider to accommodate the hydraulic flows.


There will be an extensive public process for this project.  Initial meetings with the key stakeholders have been conducted.  They include the Friends of North Cheyenne Caņon, Starsmore Discovery Center volunteer staff, the Broadmoor and the owners and operators of the Seven Falls.  The first public meeting, which is an open house to introduce the project, is scheduled on June 15th, 5:30 p.m. at the Cheyenne Mountain Junior High School.  The second public meeting will be scheduled in late summer to discuss the preliminary design plans.  The third meeting in fall will discuss the final plan.


The project team includes Matrix Design Group, which is providing the project management; THK Associates, a landscape architecture company which specializes in aesthetics; Smith Environmental and Engineering, which will conduct habitat and cultural resource surveys in the area to provide environmental permitting which is required for Federally-funded projects; Geo Cal, which is a geo-technical consultant and Vladimir Jones who will lead the public process.


In response to the Board members' questions, Mr. Milliman, Mr. Krueger and Ms. Bryarly provided the following responses:


-          Input received from the Friends of North Cheyenne Caņon included that the bridge needs to fit within the context of the park and their concern regarding the confusing intersection.  The Friends group was interested in improving that intersection.


-          The possible locations of the bridge were explained on a map.  Mr. Milliman said that the bridge needs to take into consideration the traffic configuration as well as hydraulic concerns.


-          Mr. Krueger said that they have discussed eliminating the bridge completely and replacing it with a pedestrian structure but they concluded that a public road is necessary in that area.


-          Regarding the park property lines, the boundary is approximately fifteen to twenty feet just east of Evans Avenue.


-          Ms. Bryarly explained how the aesthetics of the bridge need to be designed to fit within the park (i.e. natural setting, stone work on the current bridge, Starsmore Discovery Center, etc., which all fit well within the context of the Park.)  The new bridge should try to incorporate these same elements where possible.


-          What make this bridge to be less than safe?  Each bridge in the United States which is over twenty feet long receives a score based on a 100 point scale.  This bridge received a score of 29.  The sufficiency score was very low, which means that this bridge is not strong enough or wide enough.  A twenty foot bridge is officially considered a one-way road.  Also, the style of the railing is not considered crash-worthy.


-          The complexity of the current intersection makes some traffic slow down, which has a benefit of traffic calming.


Chair Schwerin thanked staff and Mr. Milliman for bringing the information the Board.




TOPS Update   (Item #5)

Sarah Bryarly, Interim Manager of Design, Development and TOPS, reported on the following:


-          Section 16:  Staff met with the State Land Board which voted to complete a direct sale with the City of Colorado Springs in accordance with HB-1163.  Staff will continue to work through the processes and bring updates to the Board as the project moves forward.


-          At the last TOPS meeting, Mike Slattery, owner of land in Blodgett Ranch adjacent to Blodgett Peak, provided a presentation regarding a parcel of land which he would like for the Committee to purchase.  


In the past two years, Mr. Slattery had put three parcels of land at Blodgett Ranch within conservation easements.  His request was that the City of Colorado Springs obtain an appraisal and pay the residual value of the conservation easement to acquire the land.  The Committee will decide if the project should move forward or not once they receive and can evaluate the appraisal.


-          The Volunteer Stewardship Plan is moving forward.  Staff has been meeting with the Friends groups to work out details on some of the issues.  At the request of the Friends group to have an adequate training for their crew leaders, staff scheduled a training at the Red Rock Canyon open space on June 26th.  Staff is also working with the Trails and Open Space Coalition to add a section on their website listing all of the Friends groups and their projects.


-          Midland Trail Phase II (from 21st Street to 31st Street) and Phase III (from 31st Street to Manitou Springs): Staff continues to work with CDOT to obtain necessary approvals in order to start construction in late summer/early fall.


-          Sand Creek Trail (from Barnes to Stetson Hills and from Las Vegas to Hancock): Staff is currently working to resolve issues related to the right-of-way easements and approval process with CDOT.


-          Cottonwood Trail (from Cottonwood Park to Union):  The project is currently under construction.  A bridge will be installed in early July.  The project will be completed by the end of August.


-          Cottonwood Trail (east of Academy): Staff is currently working with SWENT regarding a section of the trail in front of the Current company.  Through the SWENT process, a FEMA grant was received to cleanup the hydraulic and erosion issues.  Out of this project, a small trail was built.


-          Cottonwood Trail (on the opposite side of Vincent Street):  Staff is working with the City Engineering, City Traffic and PPRTA on a section that would connect a section of the Cottonwood trail from the Pike Peak Greenway under I-25 to where it stops at Vincent and eventually connect to the project with the SWENT on the other side of the Current.  The project should be complete by 2012.


-          A Transportation Enhancement grant was received to complete improvements for a section of the Pikes Peak Greenway from I-25 to Cottonwood Creek intersection. 


-          Wayfinding signage was completed along Cottonwood, Midland and Rick Island trails.


-          This is not TOPS related but the signage package for the Garden of the Gods was completed.



Board Committee Report


Pioneers Museum Board:  Mary Mashburn said that a meeting is scheduled for this afternoon to discuss the consultant's work regarding the sustainability of the Museum. 


Board Members Concerns


-          Captain Jacks Trail:  Chair Schwerin said that a portion of the Captain Jacks Trail (approximately 1,000 feet) which crosses the Colt property will be relocated to City property this weekend by the Colorado Motorized Trail Riders Association (CMTRA).


-          America the Beautiful Mowing Schedule:  In response to Mary Mashburn's question regarding the mowing schedule at America the Beautiful Park, Kurt Schroeder said that he will provide the mowing schedule to Board members.


-          Stratton Open Space Bandit:  Vice Chair Obee said that there is someone at the Stratton Open Space who keeps putting back sign posts on the trail with the word "rape" on it.  These sign posts were removed but they keep coming back.


Scott Abbott, Regional Supervisor, said that the Department has been notified of a person who might be placing the sign posts.  Staff believes that this person may be unhappy about a fall line trail which was closed by the Department.  When the Department closed this trail, a person removed all the closures and when it was closed again the signs began appearing.  It is believed that this trail has been used by this person regularly.  Staff also believes that the two incidents are related and caused by the same person. 


-          Pedestrian Bridge by Monument Valley Park at Bijou Street:  Carl Reinhardt said that he has seen police cars on this bridge and asked if the bridge is rated for cars.  Also, some wooden planks need to be replaced. 


Staff said that a bridge inspection report has been completed and it was determined that the entire decking needs to be replaced.  This will be a high priority utilizing the Department's Emergency Repair Fund.


-          Swimming Pools Article:  Rich Eastland said there was a newspaper article regarding the swimming pools and how busy they were over the weekend.  He asked how the community is responding with the City not operating all of the swimming pools.


In response, Kim King, Manager of Parks Administration, said that the Cottonwood Creek Recreation Center pool is the only pool operated by the City.  Colorado Springs Swim School is currently operating the Wilson Ranch and Portal pools and they will operate the Aquatics and Fitness Center beginning Setpember 2010.  Monument Valley and Valley Hi pools and Prospect Lake Beach are closed.  To this date, the Department has not received any negative feedback regarding the operation of the swimming pools.  The contact information for the Colorado Springs Swim School is included on the Department's website.


Ms. Mashburn requested to have a presentation by the Colorado Springs Swim School at the July meeting.




Election of 2010-2011 Board Chair and Vice Chair


Carl Reinhardt made a motion to elect Kent Obee as the Board's Chair for the 2010-2011 term.  Motion was seconded by Mary Mashburn and carried unanimously.


Mary Mashburn made a motion to elect Carl Reinhardt as the Board's Vice Chair for the 2010-2011 term.  Motion was seconded by Nancy Hobbs and carried unanimously.


Board Members' Farewell Reception:  Mr. Schroeder said that a farewell reception for the outgoing Board members (Jim Schwerin and Jill Gaebler) is scheduled after the July 8th Board meeting.  Staff will notify the Board of the location.




Negotiations Pertaining to a Land Matter   (Item #6)


Mary Mashburn made a motion to hold a closed Executive Session to discuss ?Negotiations Pertaining to a Land Matter?.  Motion was seconded by Jill Gaebler and carried unanimously.


Chair Schwerin declared that this item was in a Closed Executive Session.


The Board went into a Closed Executive Session at 10:00 a.m. and finished at 10:30 a.m.



Being no further business, the Board adjourned at 10:30 a.m.