Bock house demo/fix approved; action on hold for now
The Colorado Springs Parks Advisory Board voted last month to tear down the Bock family house in what is now Red Rock
Canyon Open Space.
However, highlights of the dwelling - mainly the distinctive fireplace-area rockwork in its former “greatroom” - will be retained for an open-air shelter/meeting place, according to Chris Lieber, development manager for Colorado Springs Parks.
The decision had been expected since last fall, when a City Parks study reported that repairing the roughly 40-year-old, 1,556- square foot building would cost over a quarter of a million dollars and that efforts to find non-profit groups willing to take it over had proved unfruitful.
No group or person stepped forward to request that the house be “saved.” However, Tom Kay, an area land specialist who had worked with the Bocks before the city bought the property in 2003, expressed disappointment afterward. “They don't need to tear it down,” he said. “So what if it's $250,000 to fix it. Just don't do it now.”
The consensus among area outdoor groups was that the house, other than the rockwork, was not representative of high- standard architecture or craftsmanship. The Friends of Red Rock Canyon group had sought public discussion on the matter, wanting to know if there were alternatives to demolition, and if not, if there was a way to use some of the house.
The new plan will include a kiosk (allowing interpretative signage) and indigenous landscaping around the facility. Wood roof beams, spaced a few feet apart, will be partially roofed over toward the back wall to provide protection from the elements. Near the facility will be trails to different parts of the 788.1-acre property.
“It will be a gateway to the back country part of the open space,” Lieber said.
Parks officials had once considered using the house as a kind of visitor center, but - in addition to structural concerns - did not like the idea of cars permanently driving in that far and prefer a visitor center closer to the parking area off Highway 24 at Ridge Road/High Street.
The only catch at this point is that City Parks does not have the funding (estimated at $125,000 to 150,000) to demolish the house and implement the desired improvements. Lieber said part of the problem is that the city has not received a $1 million Greater Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant it had been awarded over a year ago.
The grant was earmarked to help with the city's $12.5 million property purchase; getting the money will free up city money now being used for acquisition to be applied toward property improvements such as the Bock house.
Lieber said the reason for the delay is the non-typical borrowing process the city used for the purchase, but “I'm confident it will all work out.”
Westside Pioneer article