The Bancroft Park band shell's year-old fire damage has been repaired, and the city now is designing outdoor restrooms for the Old Colorado City park.
"It's unfortunate you need something like a fire to get the attention of local government," said City Council President Richard Skorman, whose district encompasses Old Colorado City.
But now all of District 3 stands to benefit from park improvements, Skorman said.
Vagrants trying to keep warm last January reportedly set the fire that burned part of the band shell.
The long-overlooked park then hit the spotlight, and former District 3 Councilman Keith King struck a deal to get the park $500,000 worth of updates.
Now the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services is designing outdoor restrooms for the park's south side, along West Colorado Avenue, to replace the portable restrooms, said David Deitemeyer, senior landscape architect.
"That will be a place where tourists and park users can use a plumbed facility and can help create a better sense of community for the Old Colorado City district," Deitemeyer said.
The project also is expected to lighten the load for the adjacent Old Colorado City Library, 2418 W. Pikes Peak Ave., said manager Janina Goodwin.
Because many OCC businesses don't provide public access to restrooms, people flock to the library, sometimes forming lines, Goodwin said.
That project and other park repairs will cost about $300,000, Deitemeyer said. But more money is needed to further improve the park.
Several public meetings held over the past year brought suggestions from residents for benches, picnic tables and a small playground, he said. They're on the agenda but unfunded.
Skorman said he would support a supplemental appropriation this year to finish work at the park.
But Parks' $200 million backlog of unfunded projects could overshadow his request.
Part of the plan for Bancroft Park calls for a redesign creating an open layout, improving users' experience as well as visibility, Deitemeyer said.
"There are a couple of hiding spots where we've heard folks like to loiter or spend the night in the park in that secure position," he said.
With those eliminated, police patrols could see most of the park easily, Deitemeyer said.
Goodwin said the library often uses the park for some programs, and future partnerships with businesses and new events are also possible.
"It would be nice to have something to show off," she said.
The Old Colorado City Foundation also has committed $5,000 for work at the park, Deitemeyer said.
The Alliance of the Historic West Side is willing to help too, along with other groups in the area, said Welling Clark, director of the alliance and former president of the Organization of Westside Neighbors.
"We can help the Parks Department on whatever's needed, contacting our elected officials or whatever, but they've got to lock a plan down," Clark said. "We're working together to do outreach and to help with fundraising."
More information on the park improvements can be found at coloradosprings.gov/bancroft.