Bancroft Park renovation to start in January; city nixes cabin climate control ideaOct. 8, 2018
The latest news from Colorado Springs Parks is that the major renovation of Bancroft Park will start in January, with a finish date before Memorial Day.
The project will bring significant changes to Bancroft Park, including a free-standing restroom at the southeast corner, a playground on the east side and the
But missing from the plan - at least from the standpoint of three key organizations in Old Colorado City - are interior upgrades to the historic Garvin Cabin at the southwest corner of the park. It does have electrical power, but no heat or air-conditioning
In an e-mail Oct. 10, City Parks Maintenance Manager Kurt Schroeder denied any possibility of such being installed during the project. With construction plans being finalized in November, he said the concept "truly should have been brought up during the planning meetings so that it could have been properly vetted through the process."
He added that the idea "could be potentially talked about in the future, but at this point we need to be proceeding with the current plans so we can get this project accomplished." Furthermore, Schroeder questioned whether installing climate control might diminish the "historical integrity of the structure."
If heat and air conditioning were provided inside, the cabin would be much more usable for events and historical education as a kind of volunteer-manned chamber of commerce to enhance tourism in Old Colorado City, the Westside Pioneer was told in separate recent interviews with leaders of the three organizations.
They are Dave Brackett, president of the Old Colorado City Foundation (OCCF); Franco Pisani, president of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group; and Suzanne Schorsch, treasurer of the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS).
Such upgrades “could serve a great purpose for all the community,” Pisani summarized.
Both Brackett and Pisani said their organizations would have considered putting some money toward such amenities. The OCCF has already put $5,000 in escrow to
Speaking to the current cabin situation, Schorsch pointed out that during events, when OCCHS volunteers dress up in historic apparel, they either have to use space heaters in the winter or fans in the summer. The cabin's windows can no longer be opened because City Parks installed plexiglass over them.
On hot days, “we go through a lot of water,” she said.
An initiative for climate control inside the cabin did not emerge during Parks' two-meeting public process in April 2017, which led to what Parks calls its Bancroft “Action Plan.” However, there have been a few related changes since that process, including a cabin break-in last winter that destroyed several OCCHS artifacts and dramatized the cabin's vulnerability when it's unused. This also led City Parks to install the plexiglass over the windows, to discourage future break-ins.
Another related change was the OCCA board's cost-saving decision this year to sell its converted house in Colorado Avenue's 2300 block, which had been under-used as its “welcome center,” according to OCCA President Franco Pisani.
The group has been eying the cabin as a logical place to meet the public and hand out materials. “People see it, and they say, 'Look, it's a little visitor center,'” Pisani commented. But OCCA also would like the cabin to be more habitable.
(Note: The converted house formerly used for the center was sold to neighboring Front Range Barbeque, which hopes to incorporate it into a restaurant expansion. See Westside Pioneer Editor's Desk column at this link.)
Another type of related change since the Action Plan was approved is one of perception. Before the latest information from City Parks, Brackett said he had the impression that the city was “going to upgrade heat and electric to support the new cabin utilization.” Nonetheless, he said in an interview that he hopes to meet with City Parks in the future, to see what (if any) amenities might be worked out.
Westside Pioneer article