COLORADO SPRINGS – Land set aside for a neighborhood park at the north end of Colorado Springs sits untouched. It has been that way for more than a decade. ” My children were 11 and 13 when we moved in here and they are now 21 and 23… and a grandbaby on the way,” said Stephanie Lavery, who lives near the site. Neighbors were promised a park when they built their homes and want to why it is not done a decade later.
Leaders with Colorado Springs parks say they are well aware of what eventually be called Grey Hawk park. It is one of numerous future neighborhood parks on an indefinite wait list. Most are land set aside because of a city ordinance called the Park Land Dedication Ordinance. “We establish a criteria that says because there’s going to be this many heads and houses based on our formula you need to set aside x amount of park land,” said Colorado Springs Parks Maintenance and Operation Manager, Kurt Schroeder. It establishes land for future parks, but does not create a build budget or timeline.
The parks budget has been limited since the economic downturn a decade back. The only park built by the city since 2006 is John Venezia park. It is also on the city’s north side. It got priority because it is a larger community park serving a broader area. The budget pieced together for the park was boosted by grants, gifts, and another park closing. “We were able to move those dollars from operating that facility to the operations of Vanezia Park,” said Schroeder. Building parks is only one portion of the budget, planners also have to consider the cost of on-going maintenance.
Lavery now hopes she will be able to play with her grandkids at the park. “It’s been so long, the city has probably kind of forgotten about us and I just want them to know, we still want a park.” Parks say it is not forgotten. This and other planned parks at the mercy of future budgets. “At this point, we’re not holding our breath,” said Lavery.