The newly renovated Panorama Park celebrated its grand reopening on Saturday, Aug. 20. Councilmember Yolanda Avila and project partners El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH), RISE | Southeast Colorado Springs, and Trust for Public Land (TPL) joined Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers in a ceremonial ribbon cutting to celebrate the transformed 13.5-acre park located in southeast Colorado Springs. The park had been under construction since May 2021. It is the largest neighborhood park renovation in city history, bringing several new outdoor amenities to the southeast.
Since Panorama was identified as a renovation site in 2018, the project has been a highly collaborative community process. TPL, a national non-profit organization that works with communities to protect public land and create parks to provide equitable access to outdoor opportunities within a half mile walk of home, led the community engagement strategy along with the City, RISE and EPCPH. Community feedback has strongly impacted the park’s design, usage and future programming.
Prior to the renovation, Panorama was an underdeveloped and underutilized large neighborhood park site with a small playground, baseball backstop, pavilion, and a dirt parking lot. Now, residents can enjoy a universally accessible and inclusive playground, a bike skill development park with three separate courses to accommodate riders of all skill levels, a youth area with a hammock garden and skate space adjacent to a youth-designed climbing boulder, two basketball courts, an all-age fitness zone, a multi-use sports field, a state-of-the-art splashpad, and public art installations.
One of the art features is a mosaic tile mural comprised of more than 7,000 individual community-designed tiles. These tiles, which celebrate the diversity and unity of the southeast, create two mosaics titled “Sharing our Light” and “Stepping into our Power.” Also, later this year a new community-driven sculpture created by Colorado-based artist Joshua Wiener will be unveiled near the park’s entry plaza.
The total project cost of $8.5 million is from a variety of funding sources. The City invested $5.5 million, including $4 million from Park Land Dedication Ordinance funds, $1 million from the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) sales tax, and $500,000 from 2018 TABOR retention funds approved by voters as ballot issue 2B in 2019. The remainder of the project was funded by more than a dozen private and nonprofit partners, among them AARP Colorado, Colorado Health Foundation, Colorado Springs Health Foundation, El Pomar Foundation, Gazette Charities/The Anschutz Foundation, Great Outdoors Colorado, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, National Endowment for the Arts, The North Face, Pikes Peak Community Foundation and TPL.
The grand reopening celebration included musical performances by local artists, drop-in sport clinics, giveaways, cycling and skateboarding demonstrations and outdoor classroom instruction. A primary goal moving forward is to offer program opportunities at Panorama for park users of all ages and abilities coordinated in collaboration with the Deerfield Hills Community Center and RISE.
For additional project information, visit ColoradoSprings.gov/PanoramaPark.
Quotes from City of Colorado Springs and project leaders
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers
“The renovation of Panorama Park would not have been possible without the generous support we received from private and nonprofit partners and the passion of southeast community members. Collaboration paved the way for southeast Colorado Springs to have a world-class destination park that will be enjoyed by generations to come here in Olympic City USA.”
Colorado Springs Councilmember Yolanda Avila
"The southeast community is overjoyed and filled with gratitude over the transformation of Panorama Park, the largest neighborhood park renovation in the city. So many people invested their time, energy and talent to this project, and I’d like to thank everyone who rolled up their sleeves and committed to being part of Panorama Park."
Britt Haley, Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services acting director
"I am so proud of our community. Together, we completed the City's largest renovation of a neighborhood park – an undertaking more substantial than any of us could have done alone. We are excited about the future of Panorama Park and eager to serve the surrounding neighborhoods with diverse programming in a safe, accessible, and inclusive environment."
Jim Petterson, Trust for Public Land Mountain West Region vice president
“The Panorama Park transformation is a case study example of what can happen when a community’s vision for how it wants to connect to the outdoors is heard, respected and brought to life. Trust for Public Land is honored to have worked with the people of the southeast community and proud to have partnered with the City of Colorado Springs to create a park that will, for decades, be a cherished gathering place for families and a resounding source of neighborhood pride. Panorama Park sets a high bar for future community-driven park design and construction projects across the state and around the country.”
Joyce Salazar, El Paso County Public Health and RISE | Southeast Colorado Springs community outreach coordinator
"Panorama Park is a representation of a vibrant, connected community that offers opportunities for everyone to thrive. The park will serve southeast Colorado Springs as an awe-inspiring, well-designed, and close-to-home outdoor gathering space that reflects the culture and diversity of the community. This renovation project harnesses the imagination of what resident-led change looks like, focusing on the need for equitable solutions and demonstrating the power of collective impact."
Susan Wheelan, El Paso County Public Health director
"It's exciting to see community members, partners, and long-standing collaborative efforts come to fruition in a tangible way to promote health. The renovation of Panorama Park aligns with healthy living by promoting physical activity through building safe spaces close to where residents live, work, play and worship."