Debate on changes to North Cheyenne Park and Strawberry Hill continues

Posted at 6:35 PM, Apr 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-12 20:35:36-04

On Thursday, master plans for both North Cheyenne Canon Park and Strawberry Hill were presented to the Colorado Springs Parks & Recreation Board. 

It was a meeting that lasted about six hours due to the presentations, many questions from the board, and several people stepping up to give public comment. 

The master plan for North Cheyenne Canon Park was started due to the significant increase in visitors and recreational needs. 

Some of the suggestions from city leaders that have caused a lot of controversy are using shuttles to bring people into the park and closing the pull-offs. Most of the public comments on those plans were in opposition. 

Rick Stark, student at Cheyenne Mountain High School, said, "Being hand-held from one parking lot to another, and exploring areas chosen and decided by those who…control the land causes our parks to simply become nothing more than an amusement park."

As far as the Strawberry Hill Master Plan-several people at the meeting expressed their support for the proposal. 

The plan focuses on the property that was given to The Broadmoor Hotel as part of the land exchange back in December 2016. If the plan is approved about 8.5 acres of the property would be for The Broadmoor’s use, specifically for a picnic and equestrian area. The remaining 175 acres would be for the public’s use. 

Susan Davies, executive director of the Trails & Open Space Coalition, said, "I think the community is going to look at this and say at the end of the day we’re served…we’re going to have a great trail system, a maintained trail system, much better than what’s there now."

Kent Obee disagrees. "You have, what I said in my comments in the meeting, the illusion of public access and yet in many major respects public access is going to be much more difficult."

Obee says the trails in Strawberry Hill do need some help, but says it is something the city could fix, not The Broadmoor.

The board will be reviewing both plans. A vote is expected to happen in May.