City hopes would-be Bancroft renters will understand ‘sensitivities’

       With the annual first-come-first-served sign-up date approaching Nov. 1, Mike McCauley of Colorado Springs Parks said he is hopeful that groups interested in Bancroft Park will behave cooperatively - also that the city intends to help such cooperation take place.
       Last year, a representative of JEI Inc., which runs craft fairs, showed up several hours before the Parks office opened on the sign-up day - to make sure of being first in line - then used the opportunity to reserve most of the Saturday dates through the summer months at Bancroft.
       After complaints from Old Colorado City merchants, who believe the crafters hurt their business, the city agreed to give JEI about half the dates it wanted.
       Also interested is the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), which has annually rented the park for Founders Day in August. In previous years, when the rent was cheaper and the competition less fierce, OCCHS rented the park for its own craft fairs several times in the summer, using the earnings as a fund raiser for its volunteer-run History Center.
       McCauley said he hopes to hold a meeting with interested parties sometime after Nov. 1 to make sure no group feels left out. Asked what he would do if a group again sought to monopolize Bancroft's summer Saturdays, McCauley said he hoped that would not happen because “all parties know what the issue is.” In any event, he said, “Because we know the sensitivities over there, we aren't likely to accept bookings that will exclude others from the park.”
       The important thing, he said, is not to shown favoritism to any group, regardless of whether they are a volunteer group such as OCCHS or a for-profit entity such as JEI.
       The cost to rent the park doubled between 2003 and 2004 - going from $100 to $200 a day for commercial events. Insurance protection requirements doubled (from $500,000 to $1 million in liability) for park renters in 2001. No new increases are planned for 2005, McCauley said.
       Dave Hughes, treasurer of OCCHS, told the Westside Pioneer that the costs may make it impossible for OCCHS to rent the park in 2005 - including for Founders' Day.

Westside Pioneer Article