Colorado Springs mayor concerned item 2B passing will discourage potential park land donors

Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 9:32 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The Colorado Springs mayor says he’s concerned less land will be donated for future parks because of a ballot issue citizens voted on earlier this month.

Ballot items 2B and 2C outlined different ways to approve city parkland deals. Item 2B said city deals to accept a new parkland donation have to go to an election and be decided on by the voters. Item 2C said city deals to accept a new parkland donation have to go to a city council vote, and receive 7 out of 9 council member votes.

Item 2B got more votes than 2C, meaning it is now the law.

“It takes longer. It’s more expensive. I think it will discourage potential donors of parkland to go through that process," said Mayor John Suthers. “Also you’re going to have an electorate that simply doesn’t know as much about the pros and cons of the issues than nine city council members would.”

Those who support 2B over 2C though say city land donation deals should have to be approved by the voters, compared to a city council vote.

For context, consider Garden of the Gods park. Hundreds of acres of land were donated to the city. In exchange, the city gave the donor roughly 8 acres of other land. Now, all deals like that will have to be voted on by Colorado Springs citizens.

Suthers added that election process can take months to a year or more, depending on when the next election is or when the city is able to have a special election. If the decision was left up to a city council vote, they could decide to approve or disapprove a deal in as little as a month’s time.

In addition, the mayor said, referring to potential land donors, “They’re not going to want to spend the money to educate the voters as to why it’s a good deal for them, so they’re just going to say, ‘Forget it.’”

Item 2B was listed before 2C on the ballot simply because of the results of a random hat drawing. Suthers said that simple detail -- the fact that many voters likely read 2B before 2C -- could be why 2B got more votes.

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