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Colorado Springs official: 90 percent of land Broadmoor could get will remain open to public

February 17, 2016 Updated: February 18, 2016 at 7:49 pm
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photo - In the proposed land exchange, the city will trade to the Broadmoor approximately 189 acres, known as the Strawberry Hill or Strawberry Fields area. David Deitemeyer, a park planner with the city, walks through Strawberry Fields during a media tour on Wednesday, February 17, 2016. According to the proposal, the public will still be able to access the area for hiking and biking.  In the background is Mt. Cutler. Photo by Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette
In the proposed land exchange, the city will trade to the Broadmoor approximately 189 acres, known as the Strawberry Hill or Strawberry Fields area. David Deitemeyer, a park planner with the city, walks through Strawberry Fields during a media tour on Wednesday, February 17, 2016. According to the proposal, the public will still be able to access the area for hiking and biking. In the background is Mt. Cutler. Photo by Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette 

A Colorado Springs park planner stood in the middle of a meadow at the Strawberry Fields open space south of North Cheyenne Cañon Park on Wednesday, explaining how the 189-acre swath of land would look if a trade between the city and The Broadmoor becomes reality.

David Deitemeyer hoped to ease tensions expressed by nearby residents at a recent open house and through an online survey. He explained that although The Broadmoor would take possession of the entire parcel, the hotel plans to use less than 10 percent of the land for riding stables and a picnic facility.

"The exact location and the size of that facility is yet to be determined," Deitemeyer said, noting that The Broadmoor would allow the city to use the remaining 170-plus acres for free public use.

Many of the more than 125 people that attended the Jan. 28 open house were concerned that The Broadmoor will develop the land.

Karen Palus, the city's Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services said Wednesday that an appraisal on the 189-acre Strawberry Fields open space was in the works. Deitemeyer said he expects a value of the land to be available to the public within the next week.

Deitemeyer and Palus spoke at multiple locations around the North Cheyenne Cañon Park area as part of a tour for news outlets to gain more insight into the proposed land swap.

The proposal would give the city 371 acres, including small easements throughout the western part of the city. Colorado Springs would get a 208-acre plot adjacent to the park that would allow hikers and bikers to access the top of Mount Muscoco, which at 8,020 feet is the highest point in the city's park system.

As part of the swap, the city would also acquire a large tract of land that surrounds the Manitou Incline, making Colorado Springs the owners of 80 percent of the popular hiking trail off Ruxton Avenue near Manitou Springs.

Parks operations administrator Cathy Railton said acquiring the land near North Cheyenne Cañon Park, including the Strawberry Fields area, would allow the parks department to expand its Starsmore Ambassador Program. Deitemeyer said The Broadmoor would donate 25 percent of its Seven Falls shuttle profits to the program.

The city will hold another public meeting to discuss the potential land exchange on Feb. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Gold Camp Elementary School. For more information or to comment, attend the meeting or click here.  

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