Colorado Springs has abandoned plans for a sports complex near Interquest and Voyager parkways, but not the vision for multiuse sports fields that would serve the rapidly growing northern area of town.
The city had planned to swap 57 acres near Powers Boulevard and Old Ranch Road for 36 acres owned by a developer in the Victory Ridge development, but the deal fell through, said Britt Haley, parks design and development manager. The planned fields near Interquest and Voyager were expected be named the Larry Ochs Sports Complex and the Scott Hall Field of Dreams Foundation was going to manage the new recreational area.
The city and developer agreed to the swap in 2016 and early 2017 but it was delayed because the city had to rezone the property, Haley said. The developer of Victory Ridge, Denver-based Westside Investment Partners also had to work through issues related to the Preble's meadow jumping mouse, a federally protected species, said Otis Moore, a principal with the company.
When the land was reappraised late last year the value of the property near Victory Ridge had outpaced the value of the property near Powers and Old Ranch Road, she said.
"We couldn’t do an even land exchange," Haley said.
Now, Westside Investment Partners is planning to ask the city to rezone the property to allow for homes to be built on the property in a semi-circle around an 8-acre neighborhood park, Moore said.
"We were really looking forward to the regional sports park," he said.
But the city wouldn't have received enough property for the sports complex if the deal had gone through because of the change in value, he said. Lokal Homes, which is already building townhomes at Victory Ridge, is interested in developing some of the land previously envisioned as a sports complex, he said.
"This has been their most successful location to date," he said.
Construction could start on the homes in about nine months, depending on the city's approval process, he said.
The city had identified the Victory Ridge property for a sports park as a good alternative for the property near Powers Boulevard and Old Ranch Road in part because it was served by larger roads and had good access to Interstate 25. The Powers Boulevard and Old Ranch Road property is in a residential area and the neighbors were opposed to it, Haley said.
"We were sensitive to the neighborhood concerns about that use," she said.
However, the city is looking for another site in northern Colorado Springs for a sports complex that will serve the demand particularly for softball, baseball and soccer, she said. In some cases, residents are driving to Aurora to use the ballfields, she said. The Scott Hall Field of Dreams Foundation would not manage a new site because it has changed its mission to focus on lacrosse, she said.
"We are actively looking and very interested in finding an appropriate site," Haley said.