343-acre open space acquisition in city’s southwest foothills receives unanimous recommendation from Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Advisory Board
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services (PRCS) Advisory Board at its monthly meeting on Thursday, Oct. 14 recommended by unanimous vote a proposal for the City of Colorado Springs to acquire 343 acres of open space, known as Fishers Canyon, with funding from the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) sales tax program. The property borders Cheyenne Mountain State Park to the south, the Broadmoor Bluffs neighborhood to the east and the Pike National Forest to the west. The board’s recommendation follows an endorsement by the TOPS Working Committee earlier this month. City council is expected to vote on the acquisition at its next regular meeting on Oct. 26.
“This property is a valuable conservation and recreational asset for Colorado Springs that could further preserve the western backdrop of our skyline, provide continued protection of wildlife habitat, offer incredible views, and has the potential to connect exciting and long-anticipated trail corridors,” said David Deitemeyer, City of Colorado Springs senior landscape architect in the PRCS department.
The 2014 Park System Master Plan identified this area as a valuable candidate property for the City’s open space system. It could unlock several significant trail connections, including a key piece of the Chamberlain Trail, which is a long-envisioned 26-mile north-south trail along the western foothills that could connect Blodgett Peak to Cheyenne Mountain. If approved by city council, the Fishers Canyon property would undergo a master planning process with opportunities for public input on future use and development.
The estimated $4.2 million acquisition is proposed to be funded with revenues from the TOPS Open Space Category with the assistance of acquisition partner The Conservation Fund. TOPS is a 0.01% sales tax, or 1 penny on a $10 purchase, that was first approved by voters in 1997 and is used exclusively to preserve open space, trails and parks.
In recent years, TOPS has generated approximately $9.5 million annually. From those funds, between $3-3.5 million a year is set aside specifically for acquiring open space. The open space category also funds maintenance and operation of existing open space properties. Some years, there are not properties available to purchase, allowing the acquisition funds to accumulate for future opportunities. In 2020, several acquisition opportunities became available, and TOPS made it possible for the City to purchase almost 900 acres of open space, including the Black Canyon Quarry, Pikeview Quarry buffer property and expansions to Corral Bluffs and Jimmy Camp Creek open spaces. Combined, these properties cost $11.3 million. For more information on TOPS, visit ColoradoSprings.gov/TOPS.
Media note: A map and photo of Fishers Canyon are attached for your use (credit: City of Colorado Springs).
Oct. 14, 2021
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