EDITORíS DESK: The White Acres stand-off

       Somewhere in a game of high-stakes land deals, nobody blinked. Bethany Baptist Church and its development partner, Infinity Land Corporation, had set a price they thought was reasonable for White Acres. Some at the city apparently agreed. But, clearly, they weren't the right people, and a person has to wonder anyway how reasonable it would have been for the city to pay more per acre than it had for Red Rock Canyon ($12.9 million for 788.1 acres in 2003), especially during a time of dropping real-estate prices.
       As a result of the stand-off, the Westside (not to mention Colorado Springs as a whole) stands to lose a beautiful property to land development. And we're not just talking about a few spread-out houses. The preapplication plan calls for 16 to 22 units of attached housing near the intersection of 26th Street and Gold Camp Road. A question of compatibility immediately comes to mind. This has always been at the edge of wilderness. The Bear Creek Nature Center is a short distance away, up Bear Creek Road. Red Rock Canyon and never-developed Section 16 are next door, with trails leading into National Forest country. And as for the homes already in the vicinity, many of them are so far apart people can't even see their neighbors.
       So what's going on? We can't afford to preserve White Acres as open space, so we go the other way, and turn its locale into an urban center? What's next at 26th and Gold Camp - a 7-Eleven? It makes a person wonder if maybe that high-stakes game hasn't ended after all. The developer and Bethany Baptist would like us to believe they're the good guys here, that they want to keep it green, that the city is to blame for not buying it. So, then, why the attached housing? Or is that just a bluff?

- K.J.