Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs officials defend installation of large 'picture frame' at Garden of the Gods

Frame to remain at south overlook through 2018

City officials defend large picture frame at Garden of the Gods

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs officials provided more details Friday about the recent installation of a "picture frame" at Garden of the Gods.

The city hosted a news conference at 12:15 p.m. Friday, at the site of the frame on the park's south overlook.

Earlier Friday, the city released the following statement:

"The 8' x 12' frame in Garden of the Gods Park was erected as a whimsical and fun way for residents and tourists alike to share the beauty of Colorado Springs, Olympic City USA. By occupying a small corner of a South parking lot, we hope that many of the 2M annual visitors will share their memories and celebrate Colorado Springs as an iconic vacation destination. No rock formations were impacted by the installation of the frame, which is adjacent to the parking lot. The location and installation will be re-evaluated at the end of 2018. No tax dollars were spent on the frame, as it was donated."

The city said GE Johnson, a local construction company, donated the frame, and that the idea was first presented to the Parks and Recreation board last February by the wife of Mayor John Suthers.

"But we also looked at how successful it's been in other places," said Doug Price, of the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau.  "And we have a tie-in to the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea because there will be a frame there."

Workers placed Olympic decals on the frame Friday, allowing visitors to take "framed" photos of the scenic background which includes Pikes Peak.
When we first posted the picture, many comments by KRDO viewers expressed dissatisfaction with the idea.

"I know that they're working on petitions and what not to bring it down," said Kate Thomas, a photographer in Colorado Springs.  "I actually live right down the street, so I was just driving by it.  I didn't even think it was true that it was here."

"It may be acceptable if it starts here," said Demaris McCowan of Colorado Springs.  "But at what point does it stop?  Will there be a picture frame on Pikes Peak?  It's just out of place here."

But others consider the frame to be nothing more than harmless fun.

"I saw it on Facebook and everybody was throwing a fit, and I wanted to come by and see it," said Tomi Rawdon, of Colorado Springs.  "I think it's quite fun.  I don't think it detracts from the scenery unless you let it."

McCowan's relative, Dezmond McCowan, lives in South Carolina and visited the park Thursday for the first time.

"It's pretty cool," he said.  "It looks familiar.  It kind of reminds me of the Nationwide symbol.  I think I saw it on a commercial once."

The attention surrounding the frame created a steady stream of traffic and onlookers.

"My hope is that people who want to use the frame will have fun with it, post it on social media, share our brand and our beautiful city," said Jamie Fabos, a city spokeswoman.  "People who don't want to take a picture with it can certainly take a picture at any of our other many beautiful outlooks."

The city intends to keep the frame up through the end of 2018, in order to have a full tourist season as a basis for feedback, and then re-evaluate the situation.

Officials said none of the park's popular rock formations was used or damaged in the frame installation.

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