May 28, 2013 Updated: May 28, 2013 at 6:30 pm
The Broadmoor hotel has postponed next week's public meetings on its controversial plan to close a portion of Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard as part of a makeover of its east and west golf courses.
The hotel wants more time to research ideas suggested by area residents who attended three previous meetings on the golf course project, Broadmoor President and CEO Steve Bartolin said Tuesday
Next week's meetings had been scheduled for Tuesday and June 6, but will be delayed until at least the end of July, Bartolin said. No new dates have been scheduled.
Chief among concerns expressed by residents at the earlier meetings: The closure of Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard would exacerbate crowded streets and other traffic woes in the area and take away an evacuation route if a fire were to race down Cheyenne Mountain.
"We got feedback, and now it's incumbent upon us to come up with some solutions that make this thing work," said Bartolin. "I'd rather do it right than do it halfway. I want to make sure we have all the answers before we have our next meeting."
The Broadmoor, the internationally known, 3,000-acre resort on Colorado Springs' southwest side, has proposed millions of dollars worth of upgrades to its east and west golf courses - revamping several holes and lengthening others to create an 8,100-yard, 18-hole course.
Because the area's light air allows balls to fly about 10 percent farther than at most courses, Broadmoor officials say they need a longer course to convince golf's major governing bodies to bring a U.S. Open, a PGA Championship or other prized tournaments to the Springs. Such events could mean a $160 million economic impact to the area, hotel officials have estimated.
However, to accommodate the improvements, The Broadmoor says it needs to permanently close a 3,000-foot section of Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard, roughly between Mirada Road and Penrose Boulevard. That stretch runs through the southern one-third of the east and west courses.
The hotel's proposal has generated opposition from some neighboring residents; through Tuesday, about 385 people had added their names to an online petition objecting to the project.
In particular, some residents living in the Cheyenne Mountain area west of the hotel, have complained they'll lose a key exit road in the case of a fire.
Hotel officials have countered that they've already proposed several measures to guard against fire risks and that a portion of the existing Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard and another newly built segment could be used by residents as an escape route through the golf course.
Meanwhile, other residents say traffic, including vehicles headed to nearby Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, already is a headache in the area and the loss of the road will add to the problem.
The hotel hasn't yet formally submitted its golf course plan to the city of Colorado Springs. Once it does, that submittal would trigger a detailed examination of the proposal by police, fire, traffic and other city agencies. The City Council has the final say on whether to close the portion of Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard.
At the earlier public meetings, several residents said that instead of closing the road, The Broadmoor should create a tunnel underneath. Other residents also said improvements are needed at intersections at either end of the road.
Bartolin said all suggestions are being considered.
When it comes to a tunnel, Bartolin said, "the engineering piece of that and determining costs and such, that takes a lot of due diligence and we're finding it takes some time.
"This is not an overnight solution," he added about studying all suggestions. "It's going to take a little more time to really vet it, and develop a good plan that works. We don't want to go in there with something half-baked."
The Broadmoor is owned by the Denver-based Anschutz Corp., whose Clarity Media Group owns The Gazette.
Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen
Facebook Rich Laden