Colorado Springs mayor in favor of land swap

The controversy surrounding the Colorado Springs-Broadmoor land swap primarily centers around a little-known swath of land on the southwest side of the city, Strawberry Fields.
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) We've learned John Suthers, the mayor of Colorado Springs, is in favor of the controversial proposed land swap between the city and The Broadmoor.

Monday night, there was another public hearing. A lot of people are fired up about this.

11 News talked to a few of city council members. One told us he was leaning toward voting for the deal; others said their minds weren’t made up just yet and they're still taking in the comments from the public.

The third party appraiser said the initial reports about the land's value were pretty accurate.

The city's land was appraised at around $2.1 million, while The Broadmoor's land was appraised at around $3.6 million.

The controversy is swirling around a 189-acre piece of public land known as Strawberry Fields. It's only a small section of the proposed land swap, but those who hike and spend time in the area don't want to see it handed over to a private company for fears of future plans on the space.

The city has presented a plan to The Broadmoor that would ban the hotel from major developments.

Monday night, dozens both in favor and opposed talked to the council.

“We'll still get to hike across this property, yet dynamically it will be in a conservation easement and be brought back to health, and that's why I’m in favor of this," one supporter said.

"I just want to say how dismayed I am that the mayor presented and left. I just wish he'd been here to hear both sides of the argument," one opponent pointed out to council.

City council will vote on the land swap in two weeks on May 24. Of course you can count on 11 News to be there and let you know what happens.
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PREVIOUS (5/4): The city of Colorado Springs has released the full appraisal report for Strawberry Fields.

Whether or not the land should be traded to The Broadmoor for other acreage has been under debate in the community.

A third-party appraiser reviewed both The Broadmoor and the city's appraisals.

They found the city's land was worth $1,400 less than The Broadmoor's appraiser had valued it at.

The city land was appraised at around $2.1 million.

The Broadmoor land was appraised at around $3.6 million.

The release of these totals comes after several open records act requests, including our own from 11 News that the city denied.

They also denied the "Save Cheyenne" group's request for those appraisals. That group has hired a lawyer.

City Councilman Bill Murray showed up to Wednesday's meeting and shared his feelings.

"Disenfranchised like lots of the folks I've talked about; unfortunately this process has been less than transparent,” Murray said.

Local band The Steve Barta Trio, in favor of saving Strawberry Fields, will have a concert to raise money for legal fees on Saturday.

City council will vote on the land exchange in about three weeks.

All of the documents on the issue can be found on this page.

The next public meeting, where they will go over these appraisals and have public comment, Monday, May 9 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.