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Colorado Springs mayor opposes Skorman's request that council put land trade proposal on ballot

October 25, 2016 Updated: October 25, 2016 at 5:19 pm
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Signs with the Colorado Springs logo were posted at Strawberry Hill open space earlier this year. (Gazette file)

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers opposes businessman Richard Skorman's request for the City Council to place a proposal on the April 4 ballot that would change the City Charter to require a vote of the people before city parks, land or open space could be traded, sold or otherwise conveyed.

"The mayor is opposed to what Skorman is proposing," Chief of Staff Jeff Greene told the council during a planning meeting Tuesday. "He believes it should follow the regular ballot petition process."

The council will hear the request during its Nov. 7 work session and plans to vote on it Nov. 22.

Skorman and associates, meanwhile, are circulating petitions in an effort to obtain at least 15,202 valid signatures by Jan. 3, the deadline for City Clerk Sarah Johnson to verify the signatures and place the proposal on the April 4 ballot. Absentee and military ballots would be mailed Feb. 3.

The proposal emerged after the city agreed in May to trade its 190-acre Strawberry Hill open space to The Broadmoor in exchange for trails sections and other parks land.

Skorman, Kent Obee and others with the Save Cheyenne coalition opposed the trade, but the council approved it 6-3.

The first response by Skorman was to file a lawsuit in 4th Judicial District Court, asking a judge to block the land transfer. No ruling has been made. Skorman now is in a three-pronged approach - trying the court, a petition process onto the ballot and a council move to put the measure on the ballot.

Skorman was a founder of Trails Open Space and Parks, a popular program that collects a 0.10 percent sales tax to buy and maintain open space and parks land. Voters approved it in 1997 and renewed it in 2003 to last through 2025.

Skorman could not be reached for comment at midday Tuesday.

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