Colorado Springs Forward encourages the Colorado Springs City Council to support the proposed land swap between the city of Colorado Springs and The Broadmoor hotel.

There has been a significant amount of dialogue in our community concerning this proposed transaction. As often is the case, the discourse can be hijacked by a vocal and spirited minority at the expense of rational and thoughtful communication.

The parties to this transaction involve our city and one of our most prestigious and important private businesses. In underwriting this proposed transaction, the city has to ensure protection of our treasured open spaces and trails that the citizens of our community have consistently deemed worthy of significant public investment. The Broadmoor, through this transaction, is attempting to continue to build upon its brand as a world-class resort that increasingly offers an opportunity to experience a first-class Colorado wilderness experience. The success of each of these endeavors benefits all of us in Colorado Springs. We all benefit from the city maintaining and enhancing our community’s unique opportunity to provide wonderful nature and outdoor experiences located within our increasingly urban environment. Likewise, there are undeniable community benefits to one of our largest employers and taxpayers’ continued success in branding Colorado Springs as a premier tourist destination.

The city is to receive 156 acres of property in Manitou Springs, which not only includes access points to the Incline, but also the lower portion of Barr Trail. This swap ensures that two of the most iconic outdoor recreational venues in this community will be placed in public hands in perpetuity. It also allows a much-needed additional spur connection between the Barr Trail and the Incline and provides further open space and trail connectivity that our city currently lacks. The city additionally receives 8.5 acres of land that is otherwise slated for residential development in a highly visible parcel located on the boundary of Bear Creek Park. The Broadmoor will also provide the city with 208 acres of land adjacent to and contiguous with the spectacular North Cheyenne Cañon land. Additionally, the city receives permanent easements for future trail access across Broadmoor-owned land that the city currently has no right to develop or utilize. Finally, the city retains free public access to the trails and open space within the Strawberry Fields property that is proposed to be deeded to The Broadmoor.

The Broadmoor is to receive ownership to the 189 acres of city-owned land commonly referred to as Strawberry Fields. While The Broadmoor will be the owner of this 189 acres, it has agreed to develop a first-class equestrian experience for its guests on less than 9 acres of that land and to encumber the balance of that property (approximately 180 acres) with a conservation easement that ensures the remainder of the property will in perpetuity be open to free and unfettered access to the entire community. In developing this proposal and working with interested stakeholders, The Broadmoor has made numerous concessions that benefit the entire community. Without detailing them all, The Broadmoor has committed to doing needed and critical fire mitigation and clean-up on the entire acreage. They have committed to implementing a stable and trail management plan and to replanting the meadow with all native Colorado grasses and wildflowers.

Objectively, it is difficult to see how the community does not benefit from this proposed transaction. Our city receives much in this deal and gives up little. Putting future maintenance and preservation of the Strawberry Fields property on The Broadmoor allows the city to utilize their limited and strained resources on other high-priority objectives. The Broadmoor apparently gains enough in this transaction to justify the commitments they are undertaking and we at CSF certainly hope they are able to continue to develop and increase their and our city’s brand with this transaction. In almost 100 years of operating in our community, The Broadmoor has consistently shown it is an institution that values and promotes community stewardship.

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Lynette Crow-Iverson is chairwoman of Colorado Springs Forward, a broad-based alliance of business leaders who are “committed to protect and enhance the business climate and quality of life across the greater Colorado Springs region.”

3 COMMENTS

  1. Ms. Crow-Iverson, These are Mayor Suthers talking points. Let’s not talk about those highly suspect appraisals which drew FIVE, that we know of, Colorado Open Records request denials and, ultimately, required a lawsuit to get them released. Wonder why? Well, perhaps it was little details like Strawberry is based on a Restricted Appraisal with comps that are 17 miles south of the city, 2 of which abut Highway 115. Or, maybe it is the fact that every legitimate resource out there states emphatically that restricted appraisals are only to be used by the “client” and would not be used in, for example, underwriting a loan. If the Stratton Open space land were used (an almost apples to apples comp literally across the street), Strawberry is worth $3.5 million. Or, what about the fact that the Strawberry land was the ONLY land in the entire swap to come in UNDER El Paso County Assessor values by a whopping $600,000 — almost 1/3 of the total assessed value. Hmmm. These little factual details. As to these assertions the city is getting more, let’s do a little math. First, the pony rides no longer count as the public is denied access to those. Even so, that’s a teensy tinsy operation, by their own admission — a blip on the radar. Let’s talk about those outdoor entertainment parties/weddings. Currently, the rental fee for a wedding is $1,000-10,000 at the Broadmoor. An 8.5 acre venue, one would assume is rather large and would require the highest/maybe higher? end of the spectrum, but let’s just take the midpoint of $5,000. At 30 events per year which is what has been touted, that’s $150,000 in rental fees. Using their prices listed for catering, $200/person looks to be on the low end of the spectrum, it could easily be $300 with buffets at $155/person when you add in decoration/centerpieces/flowers/booze…..so, for arguments sake, let’s give them the $300 and assume full capacity of 100 people. That’s $30,000/event, or $900,000 in catering…..add back in the rental fees, and we have $1,050,000 to the Broadmoor and a WHOPPING $32,760 in tax revenue to the City. Going back to those pesky appraisals, let’s use their undervalued number of $1,500,000. So, that’s a 45.7 year payback before the public breaks even on what they gave up. If the more appropriate value of $3,500,000 is used, that’s 106.8 years. A century to even get to break even is NOT a good deal for the citizens. Regarding all this trail nonsense, we don’t need to make such a horrible trade to achieve this. Further, those trails won’t be complete even then. The City can used eminent domain to accomplish those goals. The Aspen City Council nor the Aspen Business Community would never give away the meadow in Maroon Bells to Ritz Carlton — at any price. This is no different — and, worse, it’s just a bad deal, financially, for the people — and a truly raw deal for the wildlife who have called this land home for the last 130 years. So, why don’t you guys dig a little deeper in evaluating the terms as this is position is devoid of substance.

  2. This is an email I sent to various politicians, including Governor Hickenlooper.

    Greetings,

    As a native of Colorado Springs at age 63, I ask you, please reach deep into your heart and soul before making this decision, not your pockets.

    In 1885 this land was acquired by the city through a vote by the citizens of Colorado Springs because of this very issue now at hand, unfortunately, there was not a provision that this land be held in perpetuity. With that being said, as the voters did in 1885 that we once again take it to the voters and specifically state that this land CANNOT be sold by the City of Colorado Springs EVER.

    According to the Colorado Springs Business Journal (CSBJ), in January of 1999 NORTH CHEYENNE CAÑON MASTER PLAN was completed and published in November 2003. The city in 1999 had a vision for North Cheyenne Canyon. Cleary, now that Mayor Suthers (a native of Colorado Springs) wants to sell out his voters. “John is a Colorado Springs native focused on getting Colorado Springs back on track and moving forward. He believes in changing the political environment in the Springs, investing in infrastructure, and aggressively promoting local job growth in order to encourage economic development” (John Suthers Facebook Page). Mayor Suthers has definitely changed the political environment and has aggressively divided Colorado Springs residents. We cannot allow him to do this, he can be assured that if this land swap goes through, he will not see a second term, guaranteed, the majority will speak.

    As an aside, had I known that Mayor Suthers would take his “prosecutorial and arrogant personality” with him to the mayor’s office, and I refer to working with him in the courtroom, I would never have voted for him. I mistakingly saw him as a native of Colorado Springs and for “the resident of Colorado Springs.” I am disappointed that Richard Skorman did not become our mayor years ago, if he had won that election, the citizens would not be put in this situation battling the Broadmoor and Mr. Anschutz. If I had the means, I myself would file for an injunction until this is resolved properly and without bias.

    Mr. Anschutz and the mayor are clearly shooting for the out-of-state 1%’s to move to this area, which is now full of landslides and disarray. If the mayor wants to invest in infrastructure, invest in the East part of Colorado Springs, not the habitat of our wilderness and open spaces.

    https://coloradosprings.gov/sites/default/files/parks_recreation_and_cultural_services/parks/north_cheyenne_canon_master_plan.pdf

    http://www.csindy.com/coloradosprings/strawberry-fields-in-cheyenne-caandntildeon-is-on-the-table-for-a-swap-with-the-broadmoor/Content?oid=3611574

    I strongly encourage you to read the master plan referenced above to give a clear insight into what the history and hard work of our previous residents, and families fought and worked so hard for in saving North Cheyenne Canyon and the surrounding area.

    Thank you.

    Candy Brockman-Markum
    Colorado Springs resident and native

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