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Bancroft work to occur during 'event season' after all; completion not till 2019

Old Colorado City Foundation President Dave Brackett speaks at the Bancroft Park meeting Jan. 11 in the Westside Community Center. At right is Karen Cullen, executive director of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group, and at left is Lauren Ripko, who coordinates events for the OCCA.
Westside Pioneer photo
Jan. 15, 2018
       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
Colorado Springs Parks Operation and Maintenance Manager Kurt Schroeder speaks to the audience at the Jan. 11 Bancroft Park meeting. At far right is David Deitemeyer, the Bancroft planner, and in the background (partially obscured by Schroeder's arm) is Mike Collins, the project architect.
Westside Pioneer photo
lighting and landscaping and a traffic bumpout to slow traffic into Colbrunn Court from Colorado Avenue.
       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.
      
This Bancroft Park restroom option was described as a "saloon" style, in keeping with the "wild west" history of Colorado City.
Westside Pioneer photo of design by Mike Collins Architects
Asked why the timeline had fallen behind so much since April, Deitemeyer said Parks has lost key staffers and is dealing with “other priorities.” For his own part, he is also the principal planner for the simultaneous Garden of the Gods restroom development project.
       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.
This Bancroft Park restroom option presents a universal style.
Westside Pioneer photo of design by Mike Collins Architects

       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 Bancroft Park bandshell being unavailable because of fire-related repair work last summer, Territory Days promoter Jim Wear (foreground) had to use a temporary stage for the event's live bands. He and Torin Smith, co-owner of UpStaged, a Westside business that makes mobile stages. are shown two days before the event after Smith had towed the unit to Bancroft.
Westside Pioneer file photo
rethink the playground location. The Action Plan, reflecting a two-meeting public process last April, places it on the east side of Bancroft. The OCCA and its charitable nonprofit, the Old Colorado City Foundation (OCCF), would prefer it at the northwest corner, nearer the library.
       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
The Old Dogs Band played in front of the bandshell stage for the Old Colorado City Customs & Classics Car Show in August 2017. The security door had been installed for the bandshell by that time, but because work was continuing on the stage itself, it was not available for the event.
Westside Pioneer file photo
members of the Old Colorado City Special Improvement Maintenance District (SIMD), argued against it's being so close to Colorado Avenue.
       “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 ddeitemeyer@springsgov.com.

Westside Pioneer article
(Outdoors: Bancroft Park)

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