About the Project
The park renovation project aims to:
- Provide a safe, accessible, quality community destination park within a 10-minute walk for many Southeast residents;
- Add new features based upon community driven needs;
- Replace aging equipment;
- Utilize recognized expert partners to advance a resident-led engagement and creative process;
- Re-envision the park to address limited opportunities for play and hazardous conditions.
This project stems from 2 planning processes, an Urban Land Institute Advisory Services Panel Report for Southeast Colorado Springs and The Trust for Public Land’s - Parks for People Program committed to ensuring that every American lives within a 10-minute walk of a quality park or near an amazing outdoor experience.
Urban Land Institute
The ULI study interviewed over 85 individuals, reviewed past plans and studies, and engaged in site tours to develop a number of strategic recommendations. Recommendations include Link to Nature, noting that many people reflected that the best part of living in Colorado Springs is access to nature; however, Southeast lacks the same connections to nature as the rest of the city. The plan also references the need for Community Gathering Space since residents expressed a great need and desire to have a place to come together, celebrate, and support social connectivity. The study noted that almost every resident the panel talked with referred to the need for a community gathering space. Some wanted a space for organized sport, some for celebrating quinceañeras, and others an outdoor amphitheater. Overall, the ULI plan served as a launching point to address community needs.
Park Discovery Process
Utilizing the ULI study completed early in 2018, TPL and the City subsequently sought to identify opportunities to leverage shared resources to improve neighborhood parks in Southeast. Based on site tours, TPL staff used GIS data to analyze impact factors such as population of low-income residents, population density, and population of children under the age of 18.
In an effort to expand TPL’s Parks for People Program to Colorado Springs, the City and TPL engaged in a park discovery process funded by the Colorado Springs Health Foundation. The Parks for People program (launched in 2012) has demonstrated that increased park usage and health outcomes are achieved through extensive community engagement, from the beginning of the planning process until long after a park’s construction. This participatory design process strengthens community bonds and will ensure that Panorama Park is cared for long into the future.
The participatory design process which TPL has undertaken for the project has brought a number of exciting partners to the table, some of whom have never worked with the City before. A list of partners include the: RISE Coalition, Deerfield Hills Community Center, Panorama Middle School, New Directions/Agape Services, Second Chance Through Faith and local residents committed to improving their community.
Once a site was identified Panorama Park visioning began with a community engagement strategy led by The Trust for Public Land informed by key organizations that have direct and meaningful impact in the community. Organizations were empowered to harness their unique talents to bring people back to the park and engage them in a conversation about how the park could be improved. Another component of the strategy was creative placemakingIncorporating artistic or creative solutions as part of urban design and development., a cooperative, community-based process using arts and cultural expression to rejuvenate parks, thus deepening a sense of place and inspiring community pride. Overall, we used four different components to solicit community feedback and activate the park: youth outreach, a written survey, a picture survey, and special events.
Youth Outreach: Local organizations, including Deerfield Hills Community Center, Second Chance Through Faith, and New Dimensions offered a variety of ways to work with youth. Since the majority of outreach occurred over the summer, our ability to connect with Panorama Middle School in the initial process was minimal, but the school distributed the survey to students prior to the end of the school year. We now engaged the school to have student help design specific park features.
Over the summer, Deerfield Hills Community Center held 8 Play in the Park events, which regularly hosted 25-35 attendees. During these events, TPL visited with the children, staff and parents, distributed surveys and asked for their vision for the park. Similarly, TPL visited with youth from New Directions and Second Chance Through Faith for local youth feedback on local parks and the renovation of Panorama Park. Youth at New Directions decided to engage in a survey challenge, which resulted in the collection of 238 surveys. Second Chance Through Faith coordinated a youth talent show at Meet Me at The Park, which showcased local talent and demonstrated how the park could be used for events.
Written Survey: The survey was developed with input from the RISE Coalition and resulted in 474 responses from the community. The RISE Coalition collected 128 surveys, New Directions collected 238 surveys, Panorama Middle School returned 82 surveys, and Second Chance Through Faith provided 26 surveys. The results of the surveys outlined in the attachment illustrate the community priorities.
Picture Survey: Approximately 300 people responded to the picture survey which was provided both in paper form and during the first Meet Me In the Park Event where attendees used stickers to vote for their favorite images. The picture survey asked the question “How do you play?” Photos were arranged across 8 categories of activities. The results of the picture survey are detailed in the attachment.
Meet Me in the Park! Events: The “Meet Me In The Park!” carnivals were organized by the RISE Coalition. The events were promoted through organizational networks, on social media, and by direct mailing to local residents. Each event included games and activities such as a bounce house, games, face painting, and family activities. The events also included free food and raffle prizes. The September event hosted a youth talent show organized by Second Chance Through Faith and a film project premiere by New Directions. Other key partners included Deerfield Hills Community Center, Solid Rock Economic Development Corporation, and The Trust for Public Land.
This project is truly unique in its collaborative process and the amenities it will offer for Southeast residents. As the first project between the City and TPL to bring the Parks for People program to Colorado Springs, this will serve as a model for future opportunities.
- April 22, 2019, Public open house at 5:30 p.m. at Panorama Middle School, 2145 S Chelton Rd, CS, CO 80916
- May 22, 2019 at Silver Key: Help us Plan Panorama Park event. 9 a.m. at Silver Key’s Connection Cafe, 1655 S Murray Blvd, CS, CO 80916 719-884-2304
- June 1, 2019 Meet me in the Park event. Panorama Park, 4540 Fenton Road, CS, CO 80916
- June 20, 2019 at Holiday Inn, 1855 Aeroplaza Dr. Colorado Springs, CO 80916
- July 11, 2019 at PRCS Dept. 1401 Recreation Way, CS 80905