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City sees only restroom as possible before summer at Bancroft; meeting Jan. 11

Dec. 27, 2017; updated March 29, 2018
       When the Colorado Springs Parks Advisory Board approved an “action plan” for Bancroft Park last May, the timeline called for completion of the work by April 2018.
       First on the list (Phase 1) was repairing/upgrading the fire-charred bandshell in the summer, followed in the fall, winter and spring with amenities (Phase 2)
A recent view looks into Bancroft Park from the intersection of Colorado Avenue and 24th Street. The bandshell is in the background at far right with its new white door (part of the summer 2017 upgrade/repair work) in front of the bandshell stage. The historic Garvin Cabin is at far left. The Colorado Springs Parks "action plan" for Bancroft includes siting a standalone restroom at the near corner.
Westside Pioneer photo
featuring a new public restroom, playground, lighting and landscaping, plus an enlarged plaza (including the removal of the 40-year-old pavilion) and pedestrian-friendly changes to adjacent Colbrunn Court.
       That schedule is no longer operative.
       A contractor completed Phase 1 in October, but Phase 2 remains conceptual, with City Parks staff making no promises that any of it will be done before summer.
       Uncertain about funding and worried about disrupting the park's summer events for a second year in a row, Parks officials have announced only that they will present “design alternatives” at a public meeting scheduled Thursday, Jan. 11 at the Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St.
       The time frame is 5 to 6:30 p.m.
       “The public will be able to review and comment on alternatives on the proposed restroom building design, site amenities and the small playground,” reads the
This timeline for improvements was displayed by staff at the Parks Board meeting May 11, at which the Bancroft Park "action plan" was approved. It shows all the work being completed by April 2018. However, Parks officials are now suggesting that most of the Phase 2 work will be delayed.
Courtesy of City Parks
meeting press release from David Deitemeyer, the Colorado Springs Parks planner assigned to the project.
       He did offer more construction hope in separate interviews, elaborating that the restroom is the main priority, and it is “anticipated the restroom will be constructed this winter and spring.” Doing it then, he added, will “avoid any impact to the special-event calendar” for the park during the warmer months.
       Also under consideration for construction before summer is “associated plaza space” around the restroom, Deitemeyer said.
       “The restroom building would require a concrete plaza space and new walks that would connect to existing sidewalks,” he explained in an e-mail. “There may be a need to modify some of the grades of the existing walks to meet ADA codes as well for access to the restroom. Expansion of the plaza spaces and improvements to other sections of the park would be potentially considered in another phase as funding becomes available and time allows.”
       As for the rest of the action plan, “we have the capacity to be patient and wait,” Deitemeyer said. “The other work can be postponed a little bit.”
       One issue that's slowed the process is a consultant's report revealing expansive soils in the southeast corner of the park, where the Park Board-approved action
During Colorado Springs Parks' two public meetings on Bancroft Park last April in the Westside Community Center, attendees were asked to break up into small groups to consider alternatives presented by Parks staff. One of those groups - with two others in the background - is shown at the first of those meetings April 5.
Westside Pioneer file photo
plan shows it being built. This issue could require overdigging up to eight feet to ensure a stable foundation, Deitemeyer said, noting that recommendations will be provided by a contracted structural engineer.
       Money has become another uncertainty. The bandshell work, half of it funded through an insurance policy, came to about $200,000. For Phase 2, about $275,000 remains available from city-pledged funds; also, preliminary information shows $50,000 approved from the city's LART tourism tax proceeds for the restroom work (an application for $250,000 from LART had been discussed earlier in the year), and a donation is in the works from the Old Colorado City Foundation ($30,000). But Deitemeyer has raised the flag that more funds may be needed to complete the action plan - especially with cost details still unknown and construction costs universally rising.
       The fire in the bandshell last January sparked the city's Bancroft attention. For some years before that, responding to park-related fundraising by the foundation, City Parks had expressed interest in a new master plan for Bancroft, but that was all. On Dec. 20, 2016, Deitemeyer responded to a Westside Pioneer master-plan inquiry, saying at that time: “Unfortunately, the Parks Department does not have funding identified in the 2017 budget for Bancroft Park.”
       Before the Parks Board action last May, two public meetings were held at the Community Center in April, at which City Parks officials presented action-plan concepts and asked for opinions.

Westside Pioneer article
(Outdoors: Bancroft Park)

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