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Parks, trails, open space planned for next decade in Colorado Springs

Public asked to submit online comments through next week

Public Asked to Comment on Master Parks Plan

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - It's something that Colorado Springs does every 10 years -- update its master plan for parks -- and you can help.

The city's parks and recreation department extended the public comment period for the plan until next Thursday.  You can comment online at parksmasterplan@springsgov.com.

The city seeks to balance the maintenance of its current system of parks, trails and open spaces with acquiring new properties, and to determine sources of funding to pay for it all.  Proposed additions to trails would double their size to 300 miles.

Bill Koerner, of the Trails & Open Space Coalition, said his group has only recently begun reviewing the master plan and hasn't decided whether to endorse it.

"But we like what we see so far," he said.

Koerner said the plan's top priority should be to connect existing trails.  The master plan proposes completing two major trail loops -- around the downtown area and around the entire city.

The plan also should provide more resources to the northeast and southeast parts of town, he said, because there's a demand for more recreation in the northeast where many people live, and the southeast has a large low-income population.

Koerner said he'd also like to see the city establish a trail between the top of Cheyenne Mountain and Cheyenne Mountain State Park.

"It's timely, it's needed and we've got a lot of opportunities and needs to address," he said of the master plan.

Russell Whitesel is a city resident who uses trails several times a week.

"I think (the master plan) is great," he said.  "But I'd love to see (the city) maybe get even more areas that are currently off-limits, and combine more trails.  If (the city) did that, more people could potentially commute to work or home.  If it cost a little bit of money for taxpayers, I'd be OK with that and I think others would be, too."

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