Controversial blue frame removed from Garden of the Gods after outcry
A controversial metal frame, installed this month into a flat rock beside the Garden of the Gods High Point parking lot off Ridge Road, was removed Dec. 18.
The installation of the blue, 12-foot-high rectangle had been authorized by the Colorado Springs Parks Advisory Board last February after a presentation by a group including Mayor John Suthers' wife Janet. The intent, according to the board meeting's minutes, was for the structure to become a visitor-friendly “photo frame” - taking advantage of Pikes Peak in the background while identifying Colorado Springs as “Olympic City USA.”
The removal came after public complaints that the frame intruded on the famous city park's natural environs. A Dec. 18 Mayor's Office press release acknowledges that concern. The release reads, in full:
“The blue frame in Garden of the Gods Park was conceived by the marketing advisors on the Olympic City USA task force as an effective way to drive millions of views of our park by harnessing the power of social media. Based on successes in other cities, the task force put this forward with enthusiasm for sharing one of our most popular attractions worldwide. Our observations since the frame was installed confirmed the task force was correct in assessing its appeal to tourists.
“However, we recognize that while one of our goals is driving tourism, the concept focused too heavily on visitors, and was not well-received by local residents who feel a great deal of ownership of the park. That viewpoint is extremely important.
“Olympic City USA is meant to be a unifying concept, and one that was created to enhance - rather than divide - our civic pride. We have received some very thoughtful citizen comments asking for its relocation and we thank those citizens who took the time for constructive communication. In recognition of public sentiment, we [have removed] the frame from its current location.
“While the initial execution was flawed, we are excited about the opportunity to eventually relocate the frame to a spot where it can meet its original objectives and become an amenity for both our visitors and our local residents to enjoy.”
Westside Pioneer/press release