Annual OWN picnic in Bancroft provides festive time for mayor, Westsiders
Held in Bancroft Park for a second straight year, the 18th annual Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) picnic drew an estimated 150 attendees over its two-hour span July 15.
Among those on hand were Mayor John Suthers, City Councilmembers Don Knight and Tom Strand, and County Assessor Steve Schleiker.
Holding a plate with a hotdog and sides, Suthers remarked that he appreciated the chance to come to Bancroft Park for the first time since the city spent about $200,000 to fix and upgrade the bandshell following the January 2017 fire. “It's the first time I've seen it since it was renovated,” he said.
Unlike some years, the weather cooperated, allowing people to eat in the open. OWN President James Thompson said he was impressed with the turnout - which is roughly the same as in previous years - and thanked the more than 15 businesses that supported the picnic, either by providing culinary side dishes or items for the raffle.
OWN has represented the Westside since 1978, but without city funding assistance since 2014. Past efforts have included helping locate city public improvements, facilitating publication of the Historic Westside Design Guidelines, reviewing development proposals and researching citizen questions.
To help defray its ongoing costs, the volunteer advocacy group charged a fee for the barbecue (hamburgers as well as hotdogs) and side dishes for the second year. (Technically, it was the first year, but the fee in 2017 was advertised as a donation.) About $670 was raised, according to OWN Vice President Sara Vaas.
A current OWN advocacy effort is urging El Paso County “to pass the same ordinance as the city did” disallowing camping within 100 feet of waterways, according to OWN board member Linda Schlarb. This would especially help businesses and residences in areas that have not been annexed into the city along the Colorado Avenue corridor west of 33rd Street, she explained.
For more information on OWN, the Facebook page is under the full name - Organization of Westside Neighbors.
Westside Pioneer article (Community: Neighborhoods)