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The city of Colorado Springs expects to spend about $7.3 million to develop Panorama Park in southeast Colorado Springs. Construction could start next year. (Image courtesy of Colorado Springs)

A 13-acre park in southeastern Colorado Springs is headed for a more than $9 million makeover that will include a new playground, sports field, water feature and public art. 

Work on Panorama Park near east Fountain and South Powers boulevards is expected to start next year following Colorado Springs City Council's designation this week of an additional $3.7 million for the project. Park construction is expected to cost close to $7.3 million, with other costs, such as design and community outreach, likely bringing the total for the project close to $9 million, said Connie Schmeisser, city landscape architect. 

Southeast Colorado Springs residents guided the design of the new park through the Resilient Inspired Strong Engaged (RISE) Coalition, which organized events for students, the elderly and other residents to weigh in. 

"This project has been incredible and it has given voice to our community," said Joyce Salazar, coalition coordinator. "... We can have hopes and dreams, but without those dollars our dreams go nowhere." 

Councilwoman Yolanda Avila said she expected the park to become a hub for people of all ages in southeast Colorado Springs and destination for residents across the community. 

"It's going to be a park like no other," said Avila, who represents the district where the park will be built. 

Currently the park, adjacent to Panorama Middle School, is largely open space with a gravel parking lot, playground equipment, picnic pavilion and baseball backstop. 

The plan for the park anticipates a skate park area, trails for walking and biking, multiuse ball courts, a sports field, playground, poles for slack lining, an interactive water feature, a lawn for events, restroom facilities and paved parking area. All of the improvements will make it the first park of its kind in southeast Colorado Springs, Schmeisser said. 

The city is expected to cover about $4.9 million of the cost, the Trust for Public Land is providing $1 million, Great Outdoors Colorado is donating $350,000 and private donors have provided $410,000.  The city is about $500,000 short of its construction budget. However that funding could come from dedicated city sales taxes for parks next year or grant funds, Schmeisser said. 

Contact the writer at mary.shinn@gazette.com or (719) 429-9264.

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