Master plans for Austin Bluffs Open Space and Downtown Historic Parks approved

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Advisory Board approved two new master plans at its monthly meeting Thursday, June 11: the Austin Bluffs Open Space Master and Management Plan and the Downtown Historic Parks Master PlanA plan for the development of a portion of the city that contains proposed land uses, a generalized transportation system, and the relationship of the area included in the plan to surrounding property. for Acacia, Alamo Square and Antlers parks. The respective plans will guide future management of and improvements to these areas. Public input, collected over the last two years, was heavily incorporated in both plans.

“As always, we are grateful to the community members who took time to add critical perspective and valuable input to these plans,” said Karen Palus, parks director. “We are incredibly fortunate to have such wonderful parks and open spaces in our city that provide a wide variety of unique experiences for all users. These plans will help guide us in ensuring these areas thrive in serving the community for many years to come.”                                                                                             

Austin Bluffs Open Space Master and Management Plan

This plan includes the properties of Pulpit Rock Regional Park, University Park Open Space and Austin Bluffs Open Space, all of which make up of approximately 600 acres in the central part of the city. For the next 10-15 years, this document will guide the sustainable development of recreational opportunities along with appropriate management of the cultural and natural resources within the properties. 

Some key highlights of the plan include:

  • Creation of a new trail to the top of Pulpit Rock, a popular hiking destination
  • Improved and additional parking along North Nevada Avenue
  • Improved access to the open space from the surrounding neighborhoods
  • Development of a sustainable and manageable 18-mile trail system within the open space
  •  Improved regional trail connectivity to other adjacent parks, trails and open spaces
  • Improved wayfinding signage
  • Rogue trail closure and open space restoration
  • Protection of the open space’s unique history and natural resources
  • Continued partnership and collaboration with the University of Colorado Colorado Springs for future access and trail connectivity

For more information about the master plan process, including project maps, visit www.ColoradoSprings.gov/ABOSmasterplan

Downtown Historic Parks Master Plan

The Colorado Springs Downtown Historic Parks Master Plan considers the future for three historic downtown parks that have been providing the community with green space and recreational opportunities for more than 100 years. These parks are Acacia, Antlers and Alamo Square. Recommendations in the master plan consider how these three parks are currently being used, what the community values in these parks, what needs to be preserved, and how the parks should be renewed to meet the changing needs of the city.

This conceptual master plan will inform development plans for the final design and implementation for each park. Common elements across all the park plans include improvements to the existing tree canopy, public art and performance opportunities, historic preservation, bicycle facilities and trail connectivity and planting and irrigation improvements.

Acacia Park highlights:

  • Addition of elements conducive to interactive all-age play as well as a garden grove path with permeable pavement
  • Construction of a permanent ice rink to be used in the summer months for lawn games and other events
  • Construction of a new visitor center, public restrooms and security kiosk
  • Future feasibility study for the use of the bandshell

Antlers Park highlights:

  • Creation of a walkway through a tree canopy with climbing wall features
  • Addition of a playground structure with signature play features
  •  An improved streetscape along Pikes Peak and Sierra Madre streets
  • Dog friendly park features

Alamo Square Park highlights:

  • Expansion of the park grounds through a “City Porch” feature with seating and the creation of a street light walkway for a vibrant evening experience
  • Restoration of the gazebo
  • Creation of a “Story of Us” paving labyrinth that would provide a historical learning experience and serve as an outdoor extension of the Pioneers Museum

For more information about the master plan process, including vision plans, visit www.ColoradoSprings.gov/DowntownHistoricParks.

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