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Colorado Springs firm outlines proposals for property in land swap

March 7, 2018 Updated: March 7, 2018 at 9:29 pm
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photo - Colorado Springs traded more than 180 acres of open space at Strawberry Hill with The Broadmoor in exchange for 371 acres in 14 parcels last year. (Gazette file photo)
Colorado Springs traded more than 180 acres of open space at Strawberry Hill with The Broadmoor in exchange for 371 acres in 14 parcels last year. (Gazette file photo) 

The future of the much-discussed Strawberry Hill property on Colorado Springs' southwest side became a little clearer Wednesday after the local firm behind the master plan process released a draft of its suggestions.

The 180-acre plot has belonged to The Broadmoor since the hotel traded 371 acres split between 14 parcels to Colorado Springs last year in a highly controversial land swap. Since then, the hotel contracted NES Inc. to develop a master plan for the property. The company has hosted several public meetings on the process seeking suggestions and input from residents.

Wednesday's meeting was largely led by Chris Lieber, one owner of NES, who briefly detailed some of the plans for Strawberry Hill, which include the construction of multiple buildings on an 8.4-acre building envelope.

That envelope sits on a meadow on the property's north side that is flat, accessible and popular. It's also the only portion of the property that won't remain open to the public.

Ultimately less than 4 acres of the building envelope will be developed, Lieber said. But the majority of the plot will be fenced off. There, The Broadmoor plans to build stables for up to 15 horses, Lieber said. They will be open seasonally and staff up to four employees.

Guests of the hotel will have to take shuttles to reach the stables. "There's no walking or parking associated with the stables," Lieber said.

In addition, three picnic shelters, a buffet line, restrooms, a driveway and a gathering area will be built on the envelope, Lieber said. Nobody will be allowed to use those facilities without Broadmoor staff present, he said.

Throughout the rest of the property, Lieber said The Broadmoor will close several trail access points off Old Stage Road to minimize trash dumping and vandalism, though new access points will be built at multiple locations, he said. Some existing social trails will also be replaced with official trails that will boast signage and overlooks, Lieber said.

Of the several dozen in the audience for Lieber's presentation, some nodded their heads in approval. There were others, however, who voiced their disapproval. "Ill-gotten land," one man shouted.

Kent Obee, president of the local nonprofit Save Cheyenne, was among the dissenters. Save Cheyenne sued Colorado Springs and The Broadmoor - which shares its owner with The Gazette - seeking to overturn the lawsuit. The case was appealed after a District Court judge dismissed it; last month the Colorado Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the swap. Obee said he plans to ask the Colorado Supreme Court to take up the case.

Obee said he wants the master planning process paused until the legal process is finished. But Jack Damioli, president and CEO of The Broadmoor, said both processes can occur simultaneously.

The final meeting on the master plan should be held within the next six weeks Damioli said.

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