HPA Board Position: Downtown Historic Parks Master Plan
February 28, 2020
To whom it may concern:
The Historic Preservation Alliance (HPA) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposed designs for the three Legacy Parks, i.e., Antlers, Acacia and Alamo Parks in downtown Colorado Springs. Now in our 21st year, the Historic Preservation Alliance of Colorado Springs serves as the primary voice for preservation in the Pikes Peak region. Our mission is to provide leadership and inspiration to appreciate, protect and promote Colorado Springs’ heritage for today and for future generations. Specifically, HPA members have been involved with the Legacy Parks design effort since the initial June 25, 2019 input session and the concept design update at the City Auditorium on January 28. This is our response to the city’s solicitation for comments.
HPA hails the effort by the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department, Downtown Partnership and Design Workshop to accommodate meaningful park use through a comprehensive design process. We especially commend the design team’s acknowledgement, at the outset, of General Palmer’s vision as a foundational precept in influencing final solutions. We note the ‘public triangle” created with the original placement of the three parks in the late 1800s, which suggests a subtle anchoring of the downtown and an interconnection, both physically and experientially.
Our organization believes there are certain elements that MUST be preserved even if they seem dated or require some level of repair. This includes the bandshell in Acacia, the gazebo in Alamo, the restrooms and pavilion in Antlers parks. Like those who have contacted us regarding this project, we are acutely aware of the challenge to preserve historic aspects of the three Legacy Parks yet enhancing today’s lifestyle. Of course, this is done by landscape architects/ urban planners every day in cities across America. It does takes clever creativity and effort! It involves circulation analyses both within and adjacent the park-sites. Attention should be paid to external social influences that can offer positive and negative impacts. For instance, how will the Olympic and Paralympic Museum, the new soccer complex and revitalization of the former Giuseppes Restaurant affect Antlers Park? Park planners traditionally attempt to entice the public into their spaces as an inferred form of use management. Other design tools address massing and scale adjacent to original architecture, sensitive blending of exterior elements (old with new), color palette compatibility, spatial relationships, viewsheds and focal points of activity.
If these legacy parks are to be upgraded in recognition of the 150 years since General Palmer first envisioned his city, the final designs surely should incorporate the fundamental concept of historic preservation. Seems logical, right? Each of these three parks have structures worth preserving and celebrating. Let the great City of Colorado Springs honor its Sesquicentennial with a proud future, and with an eye toward the past.
The Board of Directors of the Historic Preservation Alliance of Colorado Springs
PO Box 345, Colorado Springs, CO 80901 | www.hpasprings.org