Colorado Springs city government finds itself with approximately $2.1 million in excess revenue 2014. Colorado's Tax Payers Bill of Rights (TABOR) dictates that the city must either return the money to taxpayers or ask, via a vote, to keep the money for city projects. The city has elected to put forth ballot language, measure 2D, to ask taxpayers to let them keep the money to fix local trails this November election.
Council has worked with the Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department to identify eight trails in the city that are in dire need of repair or improvements — repairs and improvements that will be paid for if voters approve the measure. The trails noted on the ballot include Homestead trail, Palmer Mesa Trail, Pikes Peak Greenway, Rock Island Trail, Sand Creek Trail, Shooks Run Trail, Sinton Trail and Skyline Trail — the measure does not allow for any new trails.
These aren’t back-country trails used only by hikers, runners and mountain bikers. These trails connect neighborhoods, that are used by parents taking their kids out for a stroll, cyclists commuting to work and joggers and runners during their lunch breaks or after work. They are paved trails that now have potholes, cracks and upheavals — things that can trip a jogger or a child, or can cause a cyclist to crash. If approved, the TABOR funds would be used to re-pave the trails with concrete, greatly increasing their longevity.
Of course, voters can say "no," and ask for a refund of around $11 — per
not per person. But
voters should instead elect to improve the trails that connect our neighborhoods.
Residents and visitors have placed our parks and trails at the top of the list of what makes Colorado Springs great. We place a high value on outdoor recreation, and despite any other differences that we may have, our appreciation and love of the outdoors continues to unite us.
Let’s use this opportunity to make Colorado Springs just a bit better.
Vote yes on 2D.
Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor and business owner who has lived in Colorado Springs for over 23 years. He is the president of the Friends of Cheyenne Canon and a member of the El Paso County Parks Advisory Board. You can follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: firstname.lastname@example.org.