The Trust for Public Land’s (TPL) Conservation Finance Division is providing technical assistance to the City and County to look at the feasibility of a conservation measure for our community. There has been a large group of community stakeholders working with TPL on this initiative. These stakeholders have worked with TPL to fund a public opinion survey to test a couple of parks questions related to additional funding. This community initiative is in part due to the information expressed by the community in our Park System Master Plan. As you may recall the analysis that was completed regarding parks spending per capita showed that our City compared to other communities our size was significantly underfunded and understaffed. The City of Colorado Springs is around $44.00 per person and the average of other communities is around $96.00 per person as shown in the Park System Master Plan report completed in 2014. The group of community stakeholders has been discussing sustainable funding for parks for some time with a recent emphasis that would help bring our community closer to the average. No decisions have been made as the group and TPL are still gathering information.So while the April 4 election will decide a majority of City Council with six of nine seats up for grabs, it also is expected to pose two tax questions — both of which will ask for more money.
The TOPS measure that was passed in 2014 allowed the same amount of funding to be open to all Parks. This did not increase the funding for maintenance it just expanded the number of facilities where those funds could be spent. The TOPS Parks Category raises an estimated $1.4 million. This funding is now available for ALL parks(over 200 facilities) and can be used for a variety of things such as acquisition, development, construction, maintenance, repair and renovation.