EDITOR’S DESK: The ‘marathon’ for Bancroft Park
The Old Colorado City Foundation took some heat recently for an architect's preliminary rendering that showed Bancroft Park without the Garvin Cabin. I'm not trying to resurrect a painful discussion - believe me, that cabin is not going anywhere - but rather to give an example of how community involvement is
hardly a bed of roses. Well, maybe it is, if you count the thorns.
The thing is, in Bancroft Park - not to mention Old Colorado City as a whole - we have a wonderful resource that could be even better. Some local business people and civic-minded citizens decided to see what could be done, and the foundation was born from that. With the generous assistance of local restaurateurs (donating food and beverages for this year's Taste of OCC and Harvest in the Park events), a fair amount of money has been raised.
But as can be inferred from the news story in this week's Westside Pioneer, a lot of really hard work still lies ahead. To paraphrase Dave Van Ness, bringing about any improvements is going to be more like a marathon than a sprint. In a past-days Colorado Springs, the Parks Department might have had staffers who would keep up with key parks like Bancroft and see how to improve them. But in these times of lingering Parks budget cuts, its department heads don't know what Bancroft's existing master plan looks like, let alone when it was last updated. And, although pleased with the citizen effort, they say they can't consider any funding to help out until the 2015 budget at the soonest.
This makes it all the more impressive that the foundation has formed and seems to be in it for the long haul. That appears to be our "new normal," here and in the world around us, that people routinely have to devote extra time away from their careers, families and simple pleasures to bring about meaningful change, even in public places that we once thought our taxes paid for. And, on top of that personal sacrifice, such individuals also must put up with volleys of criticism from time to time (as exemplified by the cabin fiasco). Not that everyone should automatically agree with volunteers just because they're volunteering. But critics might also bear in mind the marathon aspect and how tiring that can be... although to my mind it's more like a relay. Because when you're running that long, you keep needing people to hand the baton to.