Save the Shelter plans council talk Apr. 22

       A group called the Coalition to Save the Shelter has formed around the issue of City Parks' plans to demolish a bomb shelter that was built by the former private owners of Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
       The group plans to have people speak on the subject during the Citizen Discussion portion of the Colorado Springs City Council meeting Tuesday, April 22, according to Don Ellis, who has led the effort.
       Built by the Bock family in the 1960s, during the Cold War, the roughly 1,000-square-foot shelter is attached to a four-car garage.
       The goal is to have the city “mothball the Bock Bomb Shelter while tearing down and reusing the garage,” explains a letter from supporter Shanti Toll, which he presented to the City Parks Advisory Board at its meeting April 10. The letter also states: “The historical culture value of the Bock Bomb Shelter is not inside. Its value is that IT IS THERE. It will stimulate a discussion of values and the history of our time.”
       He added that not tearing down the building would actually save the city $43,000. “How often do you receive a citizen group requesting you spend $43,000 less taxpayers' dollars on a park project and then not consider it?” the letter asks.
       The board, which had decided by consensus in March not to alter City Parks staff's shelter plans, took no action in response to Toll's comments. Their decision had followed the recommendations of Parks staff, which had said demolition of the shelter/garage was called for in a 2005 Red Rock master plan amendment.
       The Bocks had erected several buildings during their 80 years on the roughly 800-acre property; the only one to remain under the master plan is a portion of the nearby house, which is to be converted into an open-air pavilion this year in conjunction with the razing of the garage/shelter.
       While supporters have argued that the building, constructed in the 1960s, is significant as a privately built bomb shelter and could someday serve as a visitor center, parks staff have said the structure has minimal historic importance and needs extensive repairs to ever be usable.
       Both Ellis and Toll helped found the Friends of Red Rock Canyon group, which leads fundraising and volunteer cleanup and trail maintenance work at Red Rock.

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