Having raised $27K, OCCF seeks public’s ideas for park

       Under sunny skies, the second food-and-drink fundraiser this year for (and at) Bancroft Park attracted about 400 people and brought in an unofficial total of $16,000 Sept. 29.

Taylor Prier (left) of Bon Ton's restaurant in Old Colorado City hands out cookies to attendees during Harvest in the Park Sept. 29 in Bancroft Park. The booth was among about 30 offering food or drink to the 400-some attendees at the fundraiser for park improvements.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Now the Old Colorado City Foundation (OCCF) - the charity nonprofit that organized Harvest in the Park as well as last April's Taste of OCC - is looking for community ideas in deciding how to use the roughly $27,000 overall that the two events have made.
       Like Taste, Harvest included live music, artists painting works to be auctioned for the cause and chances to sample food and alcoholic beverages from numerous Old Colorado City businesses and others in the region.
       A new feature was the drama of a chef's competition, involving four Old Town eateries, requiring the making of an entrée - on a table in the park - in about a half-hour with some ingredients revealed just beforehand.
       Dave Van Ness, a board member of the OCCF and also executive director of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group, said he would like people to contact him with any park proposals they might have - not just for improvements, but also for events. One possibility he mentioned is that groups planning smaller, community-oriented activities might find renting the park more affordable now by doing so under the OCCF's insurance policy.
       The Westside Pioneer has previously reported on two groups - the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) and a Westside square-dancing group - which were discouraged from renting the park because of increased rental and/or insurance costs.
       Among the improvements being considered by the OCCF board are benches, picnic tables, surveillance cameras and restrooms, Van Ness said. The group consists of local business and civic leaders serving in a volunteer capacity.
       Other possibilities (shown in renderings by an architect working with OCCF) include a brick entryway, an upgraded pavilion, flower gardens, added seating areas and accommodations for the Farmers Market.

Scenes at Harvest in the Park... LEFT: Jan Oyler, one of eight artists whose paintings would be auctioned for the fundraiser, talks with attendees.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Another one of the architect's ideas, moving the cabin out of the park, has met with OCCHS criticism. (See story below.)
       Julie Fabrizio, who is president of both the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group and OCCF, noted that better public restrooms were an initial incentive in starting the nonprofit. Unfortunately, Van Ness pointed out, related costs are higher than the money raised so far - up to $50,000 to fix the current facilities below the bandshell and $75,000 to build new ones behind it.
       On top of that, there “would be an obligation to keep them clean and provide some sort of security to keep drug dealers out,” he said.
       Surveillance cameras, which could allow the Gold Hill Division police to check for illicit park activities, are not cheap, either. Prelimi-nary costs range between $5,000 and $15,000 for one camera, Van Ness reported, depending on camera capabilities, and more than one might be needed.
       He added that the OCCF hopes to get help from City Parks on any Bancroft improvement costs, but has not yet received specific pledges of assistance.
       The support for OCCF at Harvest in the Park was not just from attendees buying tickets. About half of the $16,000 came from sponsorships, with the largest of these $5,000 from Pikes Peak National Bank, he said.
       Van Ness can be reached by e-mail at 440-0234 or at dave@shopoldcoloradocity.com

Scenes at Harvest in the Park... LEFT: Two-member cooking crews from two restaurants in the chef's competition work under a timed deadline (left, Tapateria - the winner - and right, Cucuru Gallery Cafe). Also competing were the 2South Wine Bar and Front Range Barbeque. RIGHT: Sandy Wells performed for the event in the Bancroft bandshell, backed by three musicans.
Westside Pioneer photos

Westside Pioneer article