Surprise! No rental disputes for Bancroft Park in ‘06

       Nov. 1 came and went without controversy this year under the new Colorado Springs Parks reservation policy for Bancroft Park
       “Everyone booked for this (coming) year with no conflicts,” reported City Parks staffer Mike McCauley.
       For any other park, this might not be newsworthy, but for Bancroft the year 2006 will mark the first time since 2003 that there hasn't been a dispute about the park's use on summer Saturdays.
       Technically, one conflict did exist, but will not be contested, according to Nancy Stovall, president of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group. She said OCCA had put in for Saturday, Sept. 23, 2006, as part of its annual Scarecrow Days promotion; however, the reservation that day was awarded to JEI, a small company that sponsors craft fairs in Bancroft Park.
       “It's not the end of the world for us,” she said. “It's not like losing Territory Days. We can use the parking lot again (in the plaza at 25th Street and Colorado Avenue).”
       The easier Bancroft bookings this year resulted from a new city policy which limited JEI to renting the park on just the fourth Saturday of the month. The friction had existed when there was no limit on commercial rentals. Without a limit, the craft group had rented it most Saturdays in 2003 and 2005 and every other Saturday in 2004, when the city had a temporary restriction in place.
       In 2006, the group will be able to rent the park on the fourth Thursday of June, July, August and September.
       JEI head Jackson Ivey is not happy about the new policy, but his appeal to City Council members in October did not change their minds.
       Expressing concern about park overuse and adverse economic impacts on Old Colorado City merchants from frequent craft fairs, Westside City Councilman Jerry Heimlicher in September had proposed the new policy, which other council members backed by consensus.
       Nov. 1 is the date people or groups can start reserving city parks. For most parks, that occurs without incident on a first-come, first-served basis, but that approach had not been working for Bancroft, because of its proximity to Old Colorado City and growing popularity for events and activities.
       The policy additionally states that on the first and fifth Saturdays of the month there can be no rentals, while the second and third Saturdays the park can be rented for special events (such as the Old Colorado City Historical Society's Founders' Day in August). The City Parks director also can exercise discretion, the policy indicates, as needed.

Westside Pioneer article