5 public meetings on master plan

       A five-meeting schedule - each meeting with a specified purpose - has been laid out to get citizen input on the Red Rock Canyon Open Space master plan.
       The first meeting will be at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11 at West Intergenerational Center.
        Other meetings will be March 3, March 10, April 14 and May 5 - all at the same time and place.
        Set up by the Colorado Springs Parks & Recreation Department, the meetings are being organized by Kezziah-Watkins, a city- contracted facilitation firm, in conjunction with Design Concepts of Boulder, a planning company which is creating the master plan.
       The plan, in turn, will give Parks & Rec direction in readying the roughly 790-acre property for public access, possibly late this year. The property, featuring picturesque canyons, Garden of the Gods-type rock formations and an old sandstone quarry, was bought by the city last year with open-space funds.
       Susan Watkins of Kezziah-Watkins said she has already begun talking to individuals or groups who are known, or expected, to have an interest in the master plan's development.
       The idea is to “identify issues ahead of time,” she said. Such people “will have no more say than anybody else; we just want to start collecting information about these issues.”
       Kent Obee, chairman of the city's Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) Committee, wrote in the final issue of the Red Rock Canyon Committee's Red Rock Rag publication that anticipated issues include “trail layout, entrance and trailhead locations, the ultimate use of the Bock residence, and the use of parts of the property now occupied by several small mobile home parks and the parcel fronting Highway 24. Other questions such as rock climbing, access to the quarry areas and overall security for the large property also will have to be addressed.”
       Watkins explained the strategy for the meetings:
       Feb. 11 - An explanation of the planning process, along with some information about the property.
        March 3 - Analysis of the property by Design Concepts.
       March 10 - Goal-setting for the property - “What do we want to accomplish with this master plan?” Watkins said, adding that “we may have people work in small groups of 8 or 10 to develop their own draft plans and to explain why.”
       April 14 - Design Concepts will present a “draft concept plan” and ask people to speak up regarding its advantages and disadvantages.
       May 5 - Design Concepts will present a “final concept plan,” asking if it contains any “fatal flaws,” as Watkins put it
       The final product from the planning firm will go to the City Parks Advisory Board, which will consider it at its June 12 meeting, Watkins said.
       City Council is expected to give the final approval on the plan.
       For more information call Chris Lieber, 385-6530, at the Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Department.

Westside Pioneer article