garden of the gods kissing camels.jpg (copy)

A view of the Garden of the Gods, Kissing Camels and Pikes Peak from Mesa Road.

We can grow the city wisely

Colorado Springs is unique in that Pikes Peak provides a backdrop for all of us. I believe that required height limits, especially downtown, will keep that mountain view without obstruction. We don’t have to become like Denver or any other big city. We can grow wisely, in spite of high land costs, and retain our special status as the town that cares more about Pikes Peak than about developers. Reject that proposed 25-story building!

Judy Finley

Colorado Springs

Develop truly 21st-century ideas

Gary Feffer criticizes “people who’ve lived (downtown) since 1871” objecting to a supposedly modern high-rise apartment. But would this apartment really be modern? The proposed building looks more like a throwback to 1971. And we already know where such construction leads: an increasingly outmoded 20th-century urban center of windy steel corridors blocking out the sun and intimidating pedestrians.

Instead, I hope the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority can come up with truly 21st-century ideas on how to develop our unique downtown. I’m convinced a viable plan that looks forward to 2071 will include thriving businesses, great living spaces and the natural beauty of Pikes Peak, too.

Pete Swartz

Colorado Springs

Institute a city parks pass

We have state park passes — we have national parks passes. According to news reports, attendance at these parks has been higher than ever, so it would seem that having to pay for entrance hasn’t been a serious deterrent to their use.

Instead of continuing to nickel and dime city residents for that financial bottomless pit that is broadly called Parks, Trails and Open Spaces, it is time to institute a city parks pass. I know this suggestion will assuredly be met with great “tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth” however for the thousands of residents who are able to make regular use of the areas for hiking, biking, horseback riding and dog exercising et al, a small annual pass — say, $25/family/year, would not be burdensome and would go a long way toward the maintenance, repair and land acquisition that is needed and the tax rate could remain the same.

One-day passes would allow occasional users (like myself) and visitors to use the amenities. Free use of the Parks, Trails and Open Space can’t be sustained! “There is no such thing as a free lunch”.

For some, what is extolled as a small increase in the TOPS rate, creeping increases such as this can and do take a toll on low-income and senior residents, many of whom do not have the access or ability to make use of TOPS.

Mayor Suthers and the City Council — put a discussion of the institution of an annual city parks pass on the agenda.

Mary Johnson

Colorado Springs

Cherish the gifts of the outdoors

As a former chair of the City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Advisory Board, I had the pleasure of working alongside the community to sustain and nurture our city’s crown jewel, our natural environment. It is our identity and the essence of why we live here.

I also had the opportunity to work with southeast neighbors to develop Panorama Park, an urban oasis that will inspire physical activity, community engagement and artistic expression throughout multiple generations. The park is long overdue in the city’s south side and will feature a splash pad, bouldering wall and custom-designed mural, in addition to treasured green space.

It was a transformative experience to work on this community-driven initiative that celebrates culture, ingenuity and collaboration. Not only is the park a beacon of health and safety, it is a place to call our own.

I also recognize that Panorama Park is funded and being renovated. There are 16 other promised neighborhood parks across the city that are also in need of renovations. As a community, I hope we don’t accept that reality, where needs outweigh resources to maintain, let alone improve and expand our park system. 2C would move those parks from waiting list to activation.

Let’s continue to push for the community we want to be, one that cherishes the gifts of the great outdoors.

Mina Liebert

Colorado Springs

What do we really ‘need’?

It seems that every election season, we’re asked to vote on requests for additional taxes (either by levying new taxes or by “retaining” revenues already collected). Those making these requests publish articles, interviews, letters, posts, and mailings to convince us that the state or county or city “needs” these funds.

But here are some questions that I have never heard asked: What initiatives (or departments or programs) are no longer needed? Can we meet this need with existing structures, or must we create a department (along with the expensive bureaucracy needed to run it)? Is this proposal so important that we must burden the taxpayers to make it happen? If sales tax revenues are increasing (which is often reported), what programs are those revenues paying for, and why isn’t the result lower taxes? Is there any attempt to rank ideas by order of importance, or is every good idea as valuable as all the others?

Until someone addresses these questions, my response to any request for more funds is to be cynical to the bone.

John Conaway

Colorado Springs

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