COLORADO SPRINGS — Concrete Couch, a decades-old nonprofit in Colorado Springs offering outdoor classes and free summer camps, says some of its programs are in jeopardy.
The nonprofit said Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) has plans to run power lines through 100 feet of their location at Concrete Coyote on the southeast side. The eight-acre plot of land hosts many programs, including science classes, musical courses, and other events.
"We really make a special effort to offer them [programs] to communities that don't always get really amazing programming like this," said Stephen Wood, Executive Director of Concrete Couch. "So underserved communities, Title I schools, we work with seniors and vets, and special needs groups and queer youth."
Wood said CSU came to them nine months ago and told them the Concrete Coyote location made the most sense for the power line installation. A spokesperson for CSU said expanding power lines is part of their plan as they transition from coal after the closure of the Drake Power Plant. The spokesperson said other areas in Colorado Springs will also see added power lines and expanded substations.
Wood said the proposed area for the power lines would be in close proximity to their caretaker's residence, where they plan to have someone live full-time to watch over the property. He said the transmission lines would also interfere with a forested area where several outdoor programs are taught.
"It would really preclude us from ever doing any other development if we wanted to build art studios up there if we wanted to put in orchards underneath the lines, they have limits on that," said Wood.
Wood said CSU and the nonprofit are in negotiations. He said he wants to see the power lines installed underground, but CSU said that would cost four times as much as the original plan.
A spokesperson for CSU said they need to make a decision in the next few months. News5 will provide updates when an agreement is reached.
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