Bancroft work to occur during 'event season' after all; completion not till 2019
The schedule keeps moving to the right for Bancroft Park improvements.
After Colorado Springs Parks sent out a press release in early January pledging to “avoid any impact to the special-event calendar” for Old Colorado City this year, a public meeting Jan. 11 at the Westside Community Center revealed that construction is likely to extend into June and possibly July.
That will make two summers in a row with park construction impacts stemming from the bandshell fire in January 2017. City-contracted bandshell repairs lasted from June to November last year, which forced three large-scale OCC events to improvise for their live music.
The envisioned work this year will focus on a new public restroom at the southeast corner of the park and walkways leading to it, David Deitemeyer, the City Parks planner assigned to the project, said during a question/answer session at the meeting.
The gathering was called to get feedback on design options for the restroom as well as a small playground. Both are in the “Bancroft Park Action Plan” approved by the city's Parks Advisory Board last May, along with the removal of the pavilion, development of a centralized plaza, updated
A potential park amenity, proposed for the first time at the meeting, is a 6-foot-high bronze of sculptor Michael Garman at work. It would tentatively go in near the Garvin Cabin at the park's southwest corner and across the street from his gallery at Colorado Avenue and Colbrunn Court.
But no work other than the restroom is slated to start before fall, Deitemeyer elaborated.
Full project completion, which the Action Plan had set for April 2018, is now expected in 2019. But even that timeline depends on “money available,” Dietemeyer told the meeting attendees.
More than $500,000 is in the current budget, he said, but there are uncertainties resulting from universally rising construction costs, park soil stability issues and the fact that upgrade plans have not yet gone to final design nor been priced through a contractor-bidding process.
If, as estimated at the Jan. 11 meeting, the Bancroft restroom work this year starts in February and continues about five months, it would affect two major annual events by the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group - Mad Hatter Saturday March 24 and Territory Days May 26-28.
Hundreds of people attended the “Alice in Wonderland”-themed Mad Hatter in 2017. Territory Days, which closes off the avenue through OCC, is one of the biggest events in the region, attracting well over 100,000, even in rainy weather.
Deitemeyer did say that Parks “can localize” the restroom-project impact so that most of the park, including the bandshell, remains usable.
After the Jan. 11 meeting, the Westside Pioneer asked Jim Wear, whose Pro Promotions company organizes Territory Days, how losing part of Bancroft for the second year in a row might affect the event this time.
He said he would have to see the size of the “construction footprint,” but the result could lead to Pro Promotions “cutting some of the entertainment in the park.” Such offerings in recent years have included the Rock Ledge blacksmiths, an Indian tipi, staged gunfights, bullwhip demonstrations, live music and dancers. “Our primary concern is public safety,” Wear said.
OCCA representatives at the meeting did not complain about the event-season construction impacts; however, they are separately trying to work with Parks to
The OCCF is ready to donate as much as $25,000 for the playground, said Dave Brackett, its president.
At the meeting, Deitemeyer said that “if there's a lot of interest, we'll look into it.” A show of hands was asked for, and about half the attendees raised theirs.
The planner did not ask for a show of hands on another location concern raised at the meeting, that of the new restroom. Bill Grimes and Judy Kasten, both
“I find it objectionable,” Kasten said. “It's about as attractive as having one in your front yard.”
Deitemeyer countered that OCC merchants have been advocating for public restrooms in the park for several years. He also pointed to another citizen worry, based on feedback from last April's public meetings, which is vagrants abusing the facility; City Parks officials believe that having it closer to the main road would make that less likely.
Depending on cost, the design may also include self-cleaning and security features, based on options shown at the meeting, drawn up by the Colorado Springs firm of Mike Collins Architects.
Without self-cleaning, according to City Parks Operation and Maintenance Manager Kurt Schroeder, who joined Deitemeyer at the meeting, the best the city could do is have a crew clean the facility once a day.
The restroom designs in general reflect an effort to have the restroom “blend in architecturally,” Deitemeyer said.
The planner can be reached at email@example.com.
Westside Pioneer article