Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Survey says people concerned about parks

ANDREW WINEKE Updated: April 1, 2010 at 12:00 am

A survey by the Trails and Open Space Coalition shows that Colorado Springs residents are concerned about the toll budget cuts are taking on the region’s parks and they’re interested in pursuing a regional solution, said Susan Davies, TOSC’s executive director.

The online survey, which closed on Thursday, wasn’t scientific, but the 1,152 responses show that there are a lot of people interested in fixing the region’s parks, Davies said.

“What we’re learning is what are people willing to pay for, what services do they want,” she said.

TOSC is a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving open space and trails in the Pikes Peak region. The survey showed that 98 percent of respondents were aware of the challenges for parks, 81 percent were concerned about the situation and 79 percent would support a new tax dedicated to parks.

Actually creating a regional system would require a ballot initiative, likely in 2011, Davies said. Anything that made it to the ballot would have to be very targeted and very cheap to have a chance of passing, she said.

“It’s not going to be the Cadillac of parks plans,” she said. “I don’t think anybody’s fooling themselves.”

As a nonprofit, TOSC can’t lead the ballot drive, Davies said, but the survey, which the group plans to repeat in the summer, is a first step in establishing what people want.

“It gives us a snapshot and it gets people talking about parks and thinking about parks,” she said.

Call the writer at 636-0275

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