Downtown Historic Parks Master Plan

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Overview and September Survey

Historic Parks Master Plan Survey Promo | Open Captions

Tell Us What You Think

This survey invites you to take an early step at dreaming how to improve Acacia, Antlers and Alamo Square Parks by suggesting new ideas for them. Your input will be used to understand what needs to be improved, what to keep, and imagine new possibilities.

Take the Survey 

Three historic downtown parks are the focus of a master plan process recently launched by the City’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department. These parks were gifted to the City over 100 years ago and created to be “big, audacious ideas ” for activity, gathering and outdoor relaxation. How do we honor the original intent for modern times?

The survey will be open now through Sept. 30. Additionally, residents will see interactive displays in the three parks during this weekend’s “What If Festival” on Sept. 14 10-4 pm in downtown Colorado Springs with an opportunity to provide input and explore new experiences in the parks. Other Pop-up input events will take place in the parks through the end of September to provide regular park users and near by land and business owners an opportunity to provide input.

Input gathered in September will be used to create concept plan alternatives that will be shared with the public for consideration in a meeting before the end of 2019. A second survey will be conducted to collect input on priorities, design preferences, and parks management and investment options.  

About the Project

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department (PRCS Dept) has begun, with the assistance of Design Workshop, a 1 year master plan process for Acacia, Antlers and Alamo Square parks, known as the Downtown Historic Parks Master Plan process.

Parks for the people, by the people

General William Palmer’s 1871 vision for an interconnected park system for Colorado Springs endeavored to become “the most attractive place in the West for homes—a place for schools, colleges, literature, science, first-class newspapers and everything the above imply.” The three parks in this study were some of the earliest efforts to implement Palmer’s vision to improve the quality of life for residents.  

Improving the quality of life through downtown parks. 

This 1-year planning effort seeks to provide efficient, fun and inclusive ways to participate in re-envisioning how these three historic parks continue to provide a safe place for respite and activities for all.  Approaching our Sesquicentennial Anniversary, 150 years from the city’s founding, we are taking a moment to ensure future improvements to downtown recreation balance the value of history with a fresh forward-look to determine the best combination of new or renewed park uses, site amenities, programs, infrastructure and management practices.  It is also an opportunity to underscore the importance of economic vitality and preserving business relationships to support future park improvements.  A fully-adopted Master Plan will provide the road map to renew these parks as part of the existing Park System network with safe, inviting, accessible and activated Downtown Parks.

Sign up for email updates

Email questions and comments to DowntownHistoricParks@ColoradoSprings.gov 

Process

Process Overview

  1. June - August: Project Launch
    •  Information gathering and project understanding:  
      • 14 Member Master Plan Committee Kickoff
      • 47 participants in Focus Groups Meetings/100+ invitations
      • One-on-one interviews
      • Booth at the Homelessness Expo
  2. September- October: Project Discovery
    • Imagine Programming Possibilities: 
      • Online Survey September 11th-30th
      • September 13 Evening Input Booth: Acacia Park
      • September 14 What If Festival (10-4pm): All 3 Parks Ideas Collection
      • September 18 Mid-day Input Booth: Acacia Park
      • September 24 Mid-day Input Booth: Alamo Square Park
      • September 26 Mid-day Input Booth: Antlers Park
      • September 27 ARTINI
      • And other briefings at downtown events
  3. Late Fall 2019: Project Focus
    • Evaluating Alternatives:
      • Public Meetings and Online Survey
      • Future events will be announced and posted on the webpage.
  4. Winter 2019/2020: Planning Finale
    •  Draft and Final Master Plan Public Review, Comment and Approval process
      • Future events will be announced and posted on the webpage.

Email questions and comments to DowntownHistoricParks@ColoradoSprings.gov

Background

Downtown Colorado Springs deserves a network of vibrant historic urban parks!

The Springs is ranked most desirable place to live by US News and World Report, is adding over 7,000 jobs a year and tourism is growing. Downtown residency is increasing; the 2016 Experience Downtown Master Plan targets 2,000 new-build residential units by 2025. Framed by these trends, the Colorado Springs Downtown Historic Parks Master Plan project will consider the future for three legacy downtown public spaces that have been providing the community with recreation and enjoyment for over 100 years:

  • Acacia Park (part of 1871 original town plat)
  • Antlers Park (gifted by the Colorado Springs Company in 1882)
  • Alamo Park (gifted by the Colorado Springs Company in 1899)

In the context of a changing Downtown Colorado Springs (thousands of more jobs and residents) it is important to convene a community conversation on how these three parks are currently being used, what is valued, what needs to be preserved, and how the parks can be renewed to meet the changing needs of the city.

Existing Parks

Maps of the existing parks are available here for reference

Recent City Plans

A summary description of all relevance of past plans and reports to the three historic parks is available here: 

PlanCOS (Jan 2019)

The recently adopted PlanCOS Comprehensive PlanA comprehensive plan is a guiding document that provides a framework for city policies and priorities regarding the physical development of the city. It is a long-range vision of what we want our city to become and is a tool for making decisions about how that vision should be achieved. It outlines strategic steps to make the vision a reality and provides targeted and strategic planning of the physical development of the city. provides one source of key indicators for the impact of growth on downtown parks. This document gives not only statistical information but also sets large visionary goals based upon where impact and change is recognized and anticipated.  For more information, visit: PlanCOS

“PlanCOS will enable Colorado Springs to take advantage of economic opportunities that can create and maintain the very best places to live and conduct business, while also providing excellent quality of life.  Essentially, it positions the city to remain a great place for future generations of Colorado Springs residents to live, work and play.” Mayor John Suthers (City page:  https://coloradosprings.gov/city-council/article/news/city-council-adopts-plancos-citys-first)

Experience Downtown Plan (Nov 2016)

This 2016 Experience Downtown Plan strives to outline a strategic, actionable, consensus-built roadmap to elevate Downtown to the next level.

“The long-envisioned renaissance of Downtown Colorado Springs has taken hold in recent years, as new market interest and development have bolstered the city center in myriad ways.  Tejon Street hums as a retail and dining destination.  The Legacy Loop and other biking and walking connections are becoming a reality.  Several major projects – including the U.S. Olympic Museum in Southwest Downtown, new business investment, and hundreds of new residential units in the pipeline – are poised to further accelerate growth and change in the coming years.  …We are no longer “imagining” a great downtown – we are creating it and experiencing it daily.”  (Executive Summary, Overview page 3)

Park System Master Plan (2014)

The Park System Master Plan proposes a (10 year) vision and strategies to enhance the landscape and valued recreation features that draw people to Colorado Springs, ensuring future generations enjoy the legacy of public parks and open space.  When reviewing the Plan Summary, you will find a lot of information to include the Top 10 Issues for the Master Plan to Address, Opportunities for Future Improvements, and Section 4 (page 107) the vision and recommendations for the Park System.

Comparable Example Parks Study

Benchmarking is a practice to establish points of reference against which the Colorado Springs Historic Downtown Parks may be compared or assessed. Click here for a report on parks with relevance to the three historic downtown parks as an inspiration for renewal. {link to pdf document entitled Benchmark Parks Summary}

Benchmark Parks Include:

  • Rosa Parks Circle (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Republic Square (Austin, TX)
  • Historic Market Square Park (Houston, TX)
  • Campus Martius (Detroit, MI)
  • Hemming Park (Jacksonville, FL)