Effort starts to ‘integrate’ RRC with new, neighboring open-space lands

       In the past two years, Colorado Springs has added open-space properties that together nearly equal the size of neighboring 790-acre Red Rock Canyon.
       Wednesday, Sept. 7 the public will get a chance to offer ideas on what to do with Section 16 (640 acres) and White Acres (45 acres).
       The informal workshop will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St. Expected to continue as late as 9 p.m., the evening “will provide information about the conditions of the three properties,” said Susan Watkins of KezziahWatkins, a facilitating consultant in the effort. “Those attending will be asked to review and expand on an initial list of key issues to be addressed through the master planning effort… A plan is needed to provide a coordinated approach to conservation, management and use of the three adjacent parcels of public land.”
       The meeting will start and end by having everyone gathered as one audience, but in between attendees will be able to break up into small groups to discuss various ideas, Watkins said.
       No draft proposals will be presented; however, some advance work has been done. This summer, she noted, the project planning consultant, Tapis Associates, conducted technical studies of the properties and citizens responded to online and on-site surveys.
       Two more public workshops will follow in the weeks ahead. On Oct. 5, the goal will be to “review and discuss possible approaches” for a plan; and on Nov. 16, Tapis Associates, a planning consultant, is scheduled to present a draft plan “based on public response and technical analysis,” Watkins said.
       She emphasized that the overall effort is not intended to rewrite the Red Rock Canyon Open Space master plan, which was approved in 2004 after a similar type of public process, but to create an “integrated plan” for Red Rock, Section 16 and White Acres.
       In fact, she said an idea that's already come up is to apply the Red Rock Canyon Open Space name to all three properties. This would simplify signage, Watkins pointed out.
       The final plan is to be unveiled for public review and response in January, then go to the City's Parks Advisory Board in February for review and approval.
       For more information, call 633-7080 or go to springsgov.com/RRC.

Westside Pioneer/press release