Colorado Springs City Council unanimously approved the purchase of 343 acres of open space in the city's southwest foothills on Tuesday — property seen as a critical puzzle piece for a trail that could take hikers from between Blodgett Peak and Cheyenne Mountain.
The council did not discuss the $4.2 million purchase of Fisher Canyon at the meeting, but praised it earlier this month during an informal review. In that meeting, Councilman Richard Skorman called it a great gift to the city that could mimic Stratton Open Space, an area that draws throngs of visitors particularly on weekends.
"This is going to be just a tremendous property," Skorman said.
The property is bordered by the Broadmoor Bluffs neighborhood to the east, Cheyenne Mountain State Park to the south and Pike National Forest to the west. It's key location is expected to make trail connections possible. For example, a piece of the 26-mile Chamberlain trail that will stretch from Blodgett Peak to Cheyenne Mountain could cross the property.
However, access to the property, new trail heads and other amenities are expected to take some time.
The city is purchasing the property in two pieces with help from The Conservation Fund and expects to finish the acquisition in the first half of next year, city spokeswoman Vanessa Zink said. The city will also need to take the property through a master planning process that will outline the best trail alignments and the areas that need to be preserved among other aspects of property management. The city has not set a timeline for the master planning process.
Trails and Open Space Coalition Executive Director Susan Davies said her group was pleased with the vote, especially since her organization brought the property forward as a possible purchase. She noted it will provide access to beautiful views overlooking the city and localized trail opportunities in addition to the Chamberlain trail connection.
"We could not be happier that this has been accomplished," she said.