Parks Board sees trail, open space opportunities in possible ridge development

       For now, the land lies untouched and building plans are tentative, but a first step toward transforming the ridge above Bristol Elementary into an 11-acre housing development took place at this month's Colorado Springs Parks Advisory Board meeting.
       Although expressing some concerns about how the homes will affect the ridgeline, the board Sept. 14 unanimously approved a deal in which developer Berry Craddock will get access to the property through Parks-managed City Utilities open space near the large water tower off Manitou Boulevard. In exchange, his company would build a trailhead there and give City Parks about 2 ½ acres connecting the open space to Bristol Park - located next to Bristol Elementary off Mesa Road and Walnut Street.
       “This would provide us an opportunity in the future to construct trail from Manitou Boulevard to Bristol Park,” said City Parks Development Manager Chris Lieber. “Now there are just social trails.” In addition, he said a portion of the 2 ½ acres “preserves some of the top of the ridge (from development).”
       Matt Craddock, son of Berry Craddock, described the trade as a “win-win type of deal.” He said Craddock Companies needed the city's Manitou Boulevard easement - estimated at a half-acre in overall space - as a way into its recently acquired hilltop acreage.
       The land/easement swap will need eventual City Council approval to become official.
       No development plan has been submitted yet to City Planning, and Craddock was not sure how soon it will be. According to Lieber, David Whitehead of Lee Whitehead & Associates (representing the Craddocks) told the Parks Board that tentative plans suggest 40 to 50 patio homes. However, Matt Craddock said afterward that the number of units “has not been determined yet” and that either townhomes or condos are under consideration.
       The property is relatively flat in the area east of the water tower before sloping sharply down toward the Bristol school and park. It is zoned R-5 (multi-family) with a hillside overlay that would limit construction based on slope issues. Blending in with the area “would be the goal,” Craddock said. “It should be a neat project. It incorporates parks into the development and acts as infill, which is something the city really encourages. And the area has terrific views. It should be a good amenity to the neighborhood.”
       Lieber said the city, through the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) working committee, had previously looked at buying the Craddock parcel but decided it was too expensive.

Westside Pioneer article