On Jan. 27, a fire broke out in the Bancroft Park bandshell. The much-beloved 1935 structure is in almost daily use between May and late September, and is a key component in the presentation of events such as Memorial Day Weekend’s Territory Days. For Westside residents, Old Colorado City merchants and event vendors/promoters, the bandshell is a vital and irreplaceable asset. Interested parties assumed that city government would prioritize repairs and have the strucutre ready for use by Territory Days. That would have allowed four months to assess the damage, hire contractors and get going. Working fast might have incurred more expense, but Westsiders hoped that the community and economic impact of its absence would spur a quick response.

That didn’t happen. City officials moved slowly and deliberately to solve the problem. Despite their sluggish pace, they didn’t bother to consult with Westside merchants and community leaders as they dealt with the fire’s aftermath.

At Monday’s city council work session, city councilors Keith King and Don Knight expressed their dismay and impatience over the process.

“We lack a sense of urgency in this,” said Knight

Here’s a timeline of events since the fire according Colorado Spring Department of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services records:

  • Jan. 27 – Fire started around 3 a.m. CSFD responded to the call to extinguish the fire.
  • Jan. 27 – Park staff are on site to assess the property, perform some cleanup and fence off site. Discuss event with Risk Management.
  • Week of Jan. 30 – Current Bancroft Park special event permit holders were contacted concerning the damage and encouraged to look into alternative options to accommodate their events.
  • Jan. 31 – Travelers assigns claim adjuster to assess the damage.
  • Feb. 2 – Park staff meet with Victoria McColm from Risk Management and a claims adjuster from Traveler’s Insurance company. Traveler’s sent out a basic adjuster and after a quick look at the building he determined that they would need to send out a large loss adjuster.
  • Feb. 6 – Park staff met with Joseph R. Filas from Rimkus Consulting, Travelers Insurance fire investigator. While Filas was inspecting the facility he stopped all proceedings as he was worried that some of material may contain asbestos. He indicated that he would contact Travelers and let them know what he had found, and that they would be in contact with park staff to schedule a day for them to come out to take samples for testing.
  • Week of Feb. 6 – Park staff contacted other traditional Bancroft Park special event users.
  • Feb. 7 – Travelers and Risk Management discussed asbestos testing.
  • Feb. 9 – Risk Management was contacted about on-site samples to be taken  Feb. 10.
  • Feb. 10 – Park staff met with the adjuster for the asbestos testing. Samples were taken of the area in question.
  • Feb. 10 – Matt Mayberry contacted the State Historic Office to notify them of the damage to the structure. The band shell was a contributing element to the designation of the Old Colorado City Historic Commercial District (#5EP332).
  • Feb. 13 – Park staff reached out to SHPO regarding the availability of emergency funds to perform repairs. Depending upon the damage, park staff discussed the possibility of moving ahead with an overall master plan effort for the park.
  • Feb. 15 – Travelers and Risk Management were told of no asbestos findings. An engineering firm was being lined up by Travelers to determine structural integrity. This would take a couple of weeks for the engineering report to be delivered to Travelers.
  • Feb 16 – Park staff received word from Risk Management stating that the test came back showing that there was no asbestos in the building. Assessments could proceed.
  • Feb. 17 – Park staff met with Filas of Rimkus Consulting again to finish his assessment of the fire damage. He took samples of the fire debris and combed through all of the ashes and rubble while taking photographs.
  • Feb. 22 – Park staff met with Clinton Standish of Pie Consulting and Engineering, the company assigned by Travelers Insurance to assess the damage and structural integrity. While there, the large loss adjuster from Travelers also arrived to continue his assessment of the damage. Travelers stated that they would have to have the completed engineers report prior to them supplying their report of what they would cover. They indicated that this would be a four- to six-week process.
  • Feb. 24 – Park staff installed a temporary wall across the front of the band shell to prevent any further damage and to keep people off of the stage area.
  • March 3 – Risk Management discussed with Travelers the engineering report timeline. Travelers stated that it had contacted the engineering firm that morning. The report should be finished and to Travelers mid to late next week (week ending March 10th).

Next steps: Once the engineering report is received by Travelers, John Clanton, the large loss adjuster, will review the report and provide from an insurance aspect a scope of work and cost analysis for necessary repairs. The city will need to prepare a scope of work from the engineering and insurance reports and work with Procurement Service to create an RFP to retain a contractor to perform the necessary repairs.

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Generally the contractors will look at the insurance scope of work and costs to determine if they see anything else that may need to be fixed. The bidding process with the necessary approvals, posting period and reviews will normally be a two-month process. Implementation of an overall master plan effort to address community desires related to the park would extend the overall timeline so that an ultimately better result may be realized. This effort would address Americans with Disabilities Act issues as well as enhance the usability of the park.

The takeaway: At best, the city might have selected a contractor by the end of May. Since that’s not going to happen, the now-preferred option is to “extend the overall timeline” to allow “Implementation of an overall master plan effort to address community desires related to the park so that an ultimately better result may be realized.”

And how long will that take? If we’re lucky, we’ll have a restored band shell and some decent public restrooms in time for Territory Days…in 2018.

Shakespeare said it best:

And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought