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Manitou residents, officials, business owners gather to shape city's future

By: EMILY WILKINS
July 20, 2011
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photo - A couple enjoys a quiet moment in downtown Manitou Springs. Residents, city officials and business owners are planning city development through Manitou Springs Forward. Photo by Bill Vogrin, The Gazette
A couple enjoys a quiet moment in downtown Manitou Springs. Residents, city officials and business owners are planning city development through Manitou Springs Forward. Photo by Bill Vogrin, The Gazette 

The year 2020 might seem a long time away, but it’s on the mind of some Manitou Springs residents.

For the last several months, residents have been working to create Manitou Springs Forward, a plan to guide decision-making in regard to the community’s development. The plan focuses on areas such as education, health, historical preservation, transportation and economical development, and is being formulated using input from community members.

The plan has been a long time in coming for David Chorpenning, facilitator of the Manitou Springs Forward steering committee. Chorpenning began encouraging council members for an update of the 1994 Rainbow Vision Plan several years ago. That plan focused on a variety of topics including keeping Manitou Springs family-friendly by not legalizing gambling and making Manitou more walkable.

Mayor Marc Snyder said the Rainbow Vision Plan has been beneficial for the city, but has served its purpose.

“The Rainbow Vision Plan is one we really do use in our city processes,” Snyder said. “(Updating it) has really been a sentiment that’s been popping up for the last five years as people realize it is pretty old.”

Chorpenning said he didn’t think he had enough support for a new plan until November when he met with several other residents hoping to improve Manitou Springs. Renee Moorefield, who wanted to bring economic diversity to town by capitalizing on the mineral springs, said a community event in November attended by about 120 people raised support for the Manitou Springs Forward plan.

“Manitou has just a tremendous amount of people who are about the welfare of the community,” Moorefield said. “(They) had wanted something like this to happen and realized that we were missing the strategic plan.”

Nancy Wilson, another member of the steering committee, said among ideas for the 2020 plan are ways to help the flow of traffic and increase parking.

Manitou Springs Forward is a more grassroots effort than the Rainbow Vision Plan, which was led by a paid consultant.

Volunteer involvement engages the community and saves money, Chorpenning said. Creating a similar plan with a consultant would run the city about $125,000, he said.

City council has allotted $10,000 toward the project thus far for copies and advertising, as well as some equipment rental, Snyder said. Snyder said the group may ask for another $1,700 this month.

Manitou Springs Forward expects to have a finalized plan by early 2012. The community will review the plan in November before it is presented to City Council for approval.

MANITOU SPRINGS FORWARD
Learn more here: www.manitouspringsforward.org

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