T-Days went well, but Heimlicher says ‘debrief’ won’t hurt

       Despite few known problems with Territory Days this year, City Council member Jerry Heimlicher has asked Colorado Springs Parks Director Paul Butcher to set up a “debrief meeting” to discuss it.
       A date was being set up as of press deadline.
       “I haven't heard a word, no complaint or praise or nothing,” Heimlicher said of the 31st annual street festival, which brought an estimated 120,000 people to Old Colorado City over Memorial Day weekend May 26-28. “Normally I think no news is good news, but I think we should still have a debrief meeting, even if there's not a lot of public interest. What I want to do is continuously improve it.”
       Heimlicher, whose District 3 includes the older Westside, had offered to lead future improvement efforts after some problems were aired last year regarding trash and traffic at the 2006 festival.
       Separate interviews with Aimee Cox of City Parks, Sgt. Bob Weber of City Police and Territory Days organizer Lynda Dunne also painted a favorable picture.
       Weber reported only one incident - a “little fight in the beer garden”; also, that parking tickets were up from 589 last year to 646 this year, thanks to an enhanced enforcement effort. He praised Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful - a non-profit group that OCCA contracted to pick up trash at the event and in the surrounding neighborhoods. “They were constantly picking things up,” he said.
       Although volunteering that the shuttle bus lines were too long and there was a problem with trash for part of one day, “I haven't heard anything negative,” Dunne said.
       As for the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group, which plans the event and benefits from it in good years - primarily using the money to promote the area - the May 26-28 Territory Days may have been the most financially successful ever, according to Dunne's report this week to the OCCA board. She plans to provide a detailed report in July, she said.
       Jim Heikes, OCCA president, said he had gotten a complaint from one merchant; Don Wicks, a board member, said that one e-mail had come in to the OCCA website from a person who had noticed a pile of beer bottles (although Dunne noted that bottles are not allowed to leave the event's drinking areas).
       Cox said she had received no complaints, describing the weekend as “remarkably uneventful.”
       However, she is reportedly about to receive a five-page commentary that includes some criticism of the police, the OCCA and the event itself (that it's basically too large for the area). The author is Don Schlarb, who had started a petition last year to prevent Territory Days (and any other events that close the avenue longer than four hours) in Old Colorado City.
       In addition, Schlarb told the Pioneer, his wife Linda has been distributing copies of the commentary to some business owners in Old Colorado City.
       The Schlarbs own a propane business in the 2700 block of Colorado Avenue, which they say loses thousands of dollars during Territory Days. In an attempt to accommodate one of their complaints last year, the OCCA moved the shuttle-bus drop-off point this year from 28th Street (next to the propane store) to 23rd and Colorado.

Westside Pioneer article