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City allocates $250K to repair Bancroft bandshell; additional funding possible

       A unanimous vote of Colorado Springs City Council March 28 approved an ordinance authorizing $250,000 to repair the Bancroft Park bandshell “expeditiously so that it can be safely used for events.”
       The ordinance states that doing so “is in the best interests of the health, safety and welfare of the City of Colorado Springs, its citizens, and the Westside neighborhood.”
       The 1.2-acre park is in Old Colorado City. Parts of the bandshell interior and roof were charred by an as-yet-unsolved trash fire that was started on
For nearly a month after the Jan. 27 fire, the Bancroft Park bandshell stood this way, with temporary fencing around it, plywood partially covering the fire-charred interior walls and trash lying on the stage. It has since been boarded up in front. An insurance analysis has also indicated that much of the roof was damaged by the fire and needs to be replaced as well.
Westside Pioneer file photo
the stage at about 3 a.m. Jan. 27. Parks boarded up the front of the stage about a month later.
       Left indefinite in the ordinance is how much, if any, general park upgrades will accompany the repair work. Council discussion has suggested such possibilities, perked by comments that an additional $250,000 might be available from the LART tourism tax.
       Also, at the urging of City Council, City Parks has reached out to the Westside community, scheduling a public meeting April 5 (see Westside Pioneer story at this link) and posting a survey that asks people to suggest park improvement ideas.
       District 1 Councilmember Don Knight, who heads up council's budget committee, said at the March 28 meeting it would make “common sense” to upgrade the park as a whole when the bandshell is repaired. At the same time, he explained why council would be wise not to allocate a full $500,000 in advance (the $250K from the ordinance and the suggested $250K from LART). This will keep
Sallie Clark addresses City Council March 28, expressing her belief that Bancroft Park is key to the Westside's economy and spirit. Looking on from the audience is her husband Welling Clark (suit and tie), who spoke in a similar vein.
Westside Pioneer photo from Springs TV
potential contractors from having “false expectations” (meaning they won't inflate their bids) on an overall park project, Knight summarized.
       It is not certain when Bancroft last had a major facelift. Westside neighborhood leaders Welling and Sallie Clark could only say for a fact that they have seen nothing since they started their Holden House bed-and-breakfast here in the mid-1980s. But both emphasized that the facility - featuring a bandshell, pavilion, grassy areas, trees and a historic cabin and monuments - is a key neighborhood and commercial focal point on the Westside.
       The site housed a school for many years when Colorado City was its own town, but Colorado Springs made it a park several years after the 1917 annexation, and the bandshell was built in 1935. According to local historian Mel McFarland, the exterior is made of brick, covered with six to eight-inch slabs of the unique (but pricey), locally quarried Manitou greenstone.
       The Clarks were joined at the March 28 council meeting by Julie Fabrizio, president of both the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group and its charitable arm, the Old Colorado City Foundation (OCCF). She urged council to consider building modern, ground-level restrooms behind the bandshell, for which the OCCF has
Julie Fabrizio, who heads up two organizations in Old Colorado City, speaks to City Council about Bancroft Park March 28.
Westside Pioneer photo from Springs TV
been fundraising for four years. Its cost was estimated over two years ago at $185,000. The old, handicapped-inaccessible restrooms are down some stairs under the bandshell and mostly kept locked.
       Other suggested park-improvement ideas include improving security, redoing the electrical system and rethinking the layout as a whole.
       The council action for the ordinance was again led by lameduck District 3 Councilmember Keith King, who has been outspoken in his criticism of how City Parks handled the fire aftermath - saying they moved too slowly and were insensitive to the Westside. However, in the wake of the ordinance effort he praised Parks for “stepping up and expediting it.”
       No schedule for repairs - let alone park upgrades - has yet been established. King estimated that some work might start in May.
       It is evident from recent communications between Territory Days organizer Jim Wear and City Parks maintenance head Kurt Schroeder that the bandshell will definitely not be available for that annual Memorial Day weekend event - although the department is trying to help Wear arrange some sort of temporary stage.
       The $250,000 in the ordinance comes from two sources, as revealed in council discussion March 28. The company insuring the bandshell has decided on a payout of about $100,000 and an additional $150,000 will come from the city's share of the state's Conservation Trust Fund (which is derived from Colorado Lottery proceeds).
       The ordinance will technically not be finalized until council passes it on second reading at a meeting in April.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 3/29/17; Outdoors: Bancroft Park)

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