Red Rocks, Section 16 and White Acres Trails

September 11th, 2012

Red Rocks Open Space

The next Master Plan meeting for Red Rocks Open Space, Section 16 and White Acres is tonight at 6:30. It is being held at the Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St. The focus of tonight’s meeting is trails.

Info on trails in the areas and other information on the Master Plan process is posted on the Colorado Springs website. The schedule of future meetings for those open spaces is also posted there.

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Section 16 Vote Tomorrow

September 27th, 2010

Manitou Section 16 from White Acres

Manitou Section 16 is a popular hiking and mountain biking area adjoining Red Rock Canyon and White Acres at the edge of Colorado Springs. It provides access to the Pike National Forest and the Paul Intemann Trail. It has been leased since 1972 from the Colorado State Land Board for public recreation. The current lease is up the end of the year.

Both El Paso county and Colorado Springs have tried buying it from the State Land Board. A new law solved one of the issues with buying it. The remaining issue has been the price. Appraisals have come in between $2.8 million and $8.9 million.

Now the State Land Board has proposed to sell Section 16 for $3.8 million. A 99 year agreement to not develop mineral rights will cost an addition $321,000. Including a $1 million dollar grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, the city has received grant funds and pledges of $1,253,500. The rest would come from the TOPS Program.

More information on the proposal can be found here . The State Land Board is to consider the sale to Colorado Springs at an October 8th public meeting in Pueblo.

The Colorado Springs council has a resolution authorizing the Parks Department to enter into a purchase agreement for the Section 16 on the agenda for tomorrow afternoon. The Council meeting will be in the Colorado Springs City Hall at 107 N. Nevada Avenue beginning at 1:00 P.M. Section 16 is the last item on the agenda.

If you can’t make it to the council metting, contact the Council members before the meeting and let them know that Section 16 is important for outdoor recreation and the views from the city. I can never remember which district I’m in but the council district map is here. I don’t think it hurts though to contact all of them.

Colorado Springs City Council Emails

Lionel Rivera, Mayor
lrivera@springsgov.com

Larry Small, Vice Mayor
LSmall@springsgov.com

Scott Hente, Councilmember District 1
SHente@springsgov.com

Darryl Glenn, Councilmember District 2
DGlenn@springsgov.com

Sean Paige, Councilmember District 3
SPaige@springsgov.com

Bernie Herpin Jr., Councilmember District 4
BHerpin@springsgov.com

Tom Gallagher, Councilmember At-Large
TGallagher@springsgov.com

Randy Purvis, Councilmember At-Large
RPurvis@springsgov.com

Jan Martin, Councilmember At-Large
JMartin@springsgov.com

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White Acres Fundraising with Steve Weaver’s Photos

May 8th, 2009

Badwater Reflection, Death Valley National Park

Professional photographer and geologist Steve Weaver displayed his beautiful landscape photographs at the White Acres celebration last Sunday. Steve has offered to donate 40% of any sales of his photographs through the coming week to the White Acres – Section 16 Fund. $75,000 of private money needs to be raised by November 15th.

A couple photographs of his that I really like are of Arches National Park and Badwater. He has many more beautiful photos.

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White Acres Open Space Celebration

April 29th, 2009

White Acres, Colorado Springs
It is finally time to do some celebrating over the White Acres Open Space deal. Yesterday Colorado Springs made the final approval to acquire it for open space. It has been nearly a year since I first attended a TOPS Working Committee meeting on it.

I spoke in favor of it at the Colorado Springs council meeting a couple weeks ago when they voted unanimously for it. Yesterday’s vote was just part of the required process and on the consent calendar. The 2nd vote though does allow a chance for a decision to be changed.

To celebrate the approval there will be a party and picnic this Sunday, May 3rd any time from 1-4 PM. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the afternoon. It will be at the pavilion on White Acres. There will be music, hiking and an art show and sale benefiting White Acres.

The pavilion is just up from the 5-way intersection of South 26th Street, Wheeler, Lower Gold Camp, Bear Creek Road, and Gold Camp Road. Since there is limited parking at the pavilion, please park on the gravel strip on the south side of Lower Gold Camp just east of the intersection. You can see the intersection in my Google map of White Acres.

Because of the limited TOPS funds this year, Friends of Red Rock Canyon and the Palmer Land Trust are cooperating in an effort to raise $75,000 for White Acres by November 15th. Any extra money raised will go toward the $640,000 needed to purchase Section 16 soon after. You can donate now online through the White Acres Pikes Peak Community Foundation Fund.

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Important Colorado Spings White Acres Vote Tomorrow

April 13th, 2009

White Acres Near Colorado Springs
Update 4/14/09: White Acres acquisition was passed unanimously by the Colorado Springs City Council. It won’t be effective until the 2nd reading of the ordinance on April 28th but it should just be on the consent calendar. Now Friends of Red Rock Canyon Open Space need to raise $75k by December but the Palmer Foundation is helping out.


The Colorado Springs City Council will vote on purchasing White Acres for open space tomorrow. This is the most important vote. There’s support on council for the purchase but there’s also some uncertainty.

Read through my past White Acres posts for more info about it. The White Acres Google Map shows how it fits in with Red Rock Canyon Open Space and Section 16.

If possible, please come to show your support for White Acres Open Space. The meeting is at the Colorado Springs City Hall April 14th at 1:00 PM. White Acres is the first 2 items of new business on the agenda. There are several other items before new business so it’s hard to tell how soon they’ll get to White Acres.

Fundraising Event

In related news, Pizzeria Rustica will donate the proceeds from its Earth Week Passport to Tuscany” wine dinner toward the White Acres acquisition. The five course dinner will feature five selected wines from Tuscany/Umbria paired with five Tuscan dishes.

WHEN: Monday , April 20 at 6:00 PM
WHERE:Pizzeria Rustica 2527 W. Colorado Avenue
COST: $49 plus tax and tip
RESERVATIONS: Coaltrain Wine & Spirits 475-9700

Additional donations will be accepted.

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White Acres Open Space Passes 2nd Vote

March 15th, 2009

White Acres, Colorado Springs

There was some more good news for White Acres this past week. On Thursday the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board unanimously approved TOPS acquisition of White Acres as open space. I was there along with about another dozen people to support the acquisition.

The next meeting about the White Acres open space acquisition will be on April 14th with the city council. This will most likely be the most important meeting. There is some support for White Acres on city council but also some uncertainty.

Friends of Red Rock Canyon have decided to not begin fundraising until city council has approved the acquisition. Originally they had planned to start immediately but felt there could be some issues with that. They need to raise $75,000 this year as part of the deal. Even so they do have commitments from some large donors already.

I’ve put together a Google Map of White Acres that also shows Section 16 and Red Rock Canyon Open Space. I don’t know the exact boundaries especially for Red Rock Canyon but I think I got them fairly close. It also has some of the area trails.

If you’re on Facebook, I also created a Save White Acres Cause. You can use it to help spread the word. It’ll also be another way to get updates and share information on White Acres.

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White Acres Acquisition Passes 1st of 3 Votes

March 5th, 2009

White Acres near Colorado Springs, Colorado

Photo from SaveWhiteAcres.org

I’ve been blogging quite a bit about White Acres. Hopefully it’s not growing old for non-locals. It’s a property I really don’t want to be developed. It’s visible from much of Colorado Springs and is surrounded by land that won’t be developed. Red Rock Canyon Open Space is on the north, Section 16 is to the west and Bear Creek Canyon Park is to the southeast. There are a few houses hidden in the trees in Bear Creek Canyon but they’re barely noticeable.

White Acres TrailThe photo above from SaveWhiteAcres.org and the GPS track to the right from one of my recent rides show why I’m passionate about this land. Without the critical section of social trail through the property, it wouldn’t be possible to make the big trail loop with Red Rock Canyon and Section 16. Even though the development plan seems to allow for the trail, having houses would ruin the beauty and solitude.

Last week the White Acres annexation petition was postponed a 2nd time because a deal to buy it for open space seemed possible. An article in Tuesday’s Gazette led many to believe the White Acres deal was approved. That is not the case. Although a deal is in fact on the table, the article ends by saying the deal still needs approval. It seems not everyone read that far.

White Acres Trail, Colorado SpringsThe asking price for White Acres has been dropped from $1.375 million to $1 million. More important is that the full purchase price isn’t required now like it was when city council voted it down last year. Instead the purchase will be spread over 4 years.

One key thing that wasn’t mentioned in the Gazette article is that this year, $75,000 of private money will need to be raised by December. Only $25,000 of TOPS funds are being committed this year by the city. If the private fundraising fails, the whole deal would most likely fall through. This is the only year private funding is required.

Friends of Red Rock Canyon will be doing the fundraising. They plan to have online donations set up by next week. In the unfortunate event that the deal doesn’t go through, donations will be used for the eventual purchase of Section 16.

Although the purchase will be spread over 4 years, the remaining property will be leased for $1 until all parcels are purchased. The farthest west parcel will be the 1st purchased followed by the hogback. The south parcel along Gold Camp Road will be the 3rd and the 4th parcel will be the north parcel along Gold Camp. This means the land least suited to development will be bought first with the best land for development being left to last.

A 5th parcel will be donated which is a slice for the extension of 31st street that’s been on the master plan for decades. I don’t think it’s likely 31st will be extended but the city wants to keep it’s options open. Land bought with TOPS funds can only be used for open space. A 6th parcel isn’t being bought by the city. The house at the 5 way stop at 26th, Gold Camp and Bear Creek Road is on this parcel.

I was at the TOPS Working Committee meeting yesterday morning. There were over a dozen citizens there in favor of the White Acres Acquisition. If anyone was against it, they didn’t say anything. The committee voted unanimously to recommend acquisition with very little discussion.

The next vote will be by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board next week on Thursday March 12th. From what I heard, they will support acquisition.

The bigger unknown is whether city council will support the deal. I’ve heard there is support for it but its tough to know. They are dealing with a lot of other issues. It’ll be key for everyone to make it to the council meeting on April 14th if at all possible.

Key Dates

THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 7:30 AM — Parks & Recreation Advisory Board
Parks & Recreation Building, 1401 Recreation Way

TUESDAY, APRIL 14, 1:00 PM — Colorado Springs City Council
City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Avenue

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White Acres Open Space Deal in Works

March 1st, 2009

View of Downtown Colorado Springs from White Acres

Two weeks ago the White Acres annexation petition was postponed for 2 weeks because of negotiations. Now the petition for annexation has been postponed until April 28th.

Trail in White Acres Near Colorado SpringsA possible deal is now on the table offering the City’s TOPS program the opportunity to purchase White Acres in successive parts over four years and at a lower price than before. Friends of Red Rock Canyon will be raising money to cover most of the amount for 2009 since TOPS money is very limited.

The deal must now be formally approved by the TOPS Working Committee, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and the Colorado Springs City Council. The meetings at which approval will be considered are:

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 7:30 AM — TOPS Working Committee
Parks & Recreation Building, 1401 Recreation Way

THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 7:30 AM — Parks & Recreation Advisory Board
Parks & Recreation Building, 1401 Recreation Way

TUESDAY, APRIL 14 or 28 (?), 1:00 PM — Colorado Springs City Council
City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Avenue

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Possible Good News for White Acres

February 10th, 2009

White Acres

I went to the Colorado Springs city council meeting this afternoon because of the White Acres annexation proposal. Read my post from Sunday for some background information. Mr. Howard of Proverbs 3.5 LLC got up and asked that the presentation of the annexation proposal be postponed for 2 weeks. He said there had been some productive talks with City Parks and he wanted to continue those.

There was some discussion about whether to postpone it since quite a few people were there to discuss it. Scott Hente excused himself because he’s done business with Mr. Howard in the past. Jerry Heimlicher was the only one to vote against postponing.

Heimlicher was the one that wrote the guest column in the Westside Pioneer. In it he stated he couldn’t support development of White Acres. The council took a recess after voting to postpone.

Heimlicher came back and was talking to a small group of us. He said he didn’t think it would be necessary to come back in 2 weeks and that it was a good thing. He also said he thought if the annexation had gone to a vote that it would have been rejected. He said he really couldn’t say more than that.

I also talked to Chris Lieber from Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation. He seemed positive about what could happen with White Acres. We mainly talked about the 531 mile ride he and his family took on their quad bike from the Atlantic headed west. His kids are 9 and 10.

I’ll be on the watch for any news about White Acres and will post it when I find it. If it’s on the council agenda again in 2 weeks, I’ll try going and getting the details.

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White Acres Annexation to be Presented This Tuesday

February 8th, 2009

White Acres Near Colorado Springs

I’ve written about possible development of White Acres a few times over the last year. The developer’s petition for the annexation of White Acres is scheduled to be presented to the Colorado Springs City Council this Tuesday afternoon.

White Acres Near Colorado SpringsIf you don’t know the background on White Acres, you can start with my report of the pre-annexation meeting in December and my post about whether development is a bluff. also Councilman Jerry Heimlicher post in the January 8th Westside Pioneer gives some insight into why the city hasn’t bought the land for open space.

The meeting schedule is posted online. The petition for annexation is also online although I don’t see anything other than legalese.

The Council meeting is this Tuesday, February 10th at 1:00 PM in the Colorado Springs City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Avenue, upstairs in the Council Chambers. Although the meeting agenda looks long, it is expected that the White Acres annexation will be near the beginning of the meeting. I plan to go down to see how it goes.

White Acres Near Colorado SpringsThe petition for annexation is the first formal step in the annexation process. City Council frequently accepts petitions for annexation as a routine matter, although Council can deny the petition at this stage.

Acceptance of the petition is NOT the same as approval of the annexation. If the petition is accepted, the application is referred to the planning department which studies the proposed annexation, reviews various reports, accepts public comment, and makes a recommendation to the Planning Commission. Planning Commission then makes a recommendation to Council to either approve or deny the annexation. This whole process takes months.

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