SOUTHERN COLORADO — Access to public lands like open spaces and public parks remains a major factor attracting people who want to live in Southern Colorado.
At the same time, those people drive development needed to provide housing for the growing population of the state.
“We know we can't stay stagnant, static, we can't we have to continue to grow. But it has to be balanced,” said Trails and Open Space Coalition, Executive Director, Susan Davies.
Over the past year Fishers Canyon, pristine land at the base of Cheyenne Mountain was acquired for a future open space; there was an upgrade of Acacia Park completed in downtown Colorado Springs; and the new Panorama Park opened on the southeast side of the city.
“2022 was pretty incredible,” said Davies.
Park advocates acknowledge successes while always looking to what park or open space could be next.
“You're planning, you're building you're planning you're building.
The next potential open space or park is also a potential development.
Southern Colorado is growing fast, and securing public land means always looking for the next opportunity.
Suggestions from the public can help.
“Almost every month we get someone who reaches out to us and says, there's a piece of property near where I live. I wonder who owns it? Could it be a TOPS property?” said Davies
TOPS is the Trails and Open Space budget funded by taxpayers.
It is one part of the local strategy for getting in on land opportunities.
Local philanthropists offering seed money have also helped when negotiating land deals.
“Where they're sitting down with these folks very early and say, Look, if and when you're ready to sell, please come talk to us first.”
One of the major projects coming together right now is the 70-acre Coleman Park on the east side of the springs.
Other smaller parks are also in the works.
“Anytime we can secure that 1000 acres here, couple 100 acres here,” said Davies,” It's a victory.”
The dynamic is competition for property either going to development or public land.
Rather than a winner or loser advocates say a good balance is a win-win.
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