'Picture frame' installed at Garden of the Gods

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A new addition to Garden of the Gods popped up on Wednesday out of the blue to many visitors.

A blue-frame structure was noticed by park goers on the south side of Garden of the Gods by the High Point Overlook.

"I automatically thought we should all take pictures and post them and have fun," said Colby Locklin who was visiting Colorado Springs and noticed the frame.

The frame stands about 12-feet tall and outlines a view of Pikes Peak. Lettering on the sign was added on Friday, it reads "Colorado Springs, Olympic City U.S.A." The city said with the popularity of Garden of the Gods, the sign is supposed to be a family friendly photo opportunity and a way to help the exposure of Colorado Springs.

With just the base design in place currently, some people are already loving the new addition.

"I was like, 'It's a picture frame!" said Yarkenda Payne who lives in Colorado and had family visiting, "It captures everything, it tells you the perfect spot to be in so you can get everything in the background and take the perfect shot."

Others disagree.

11 News first posted a picture of the frame on social media Wednesday night and received dozens of comments from people who did not support the idea.

"It's an artificial edifice that is, in my opinion, moronic and distracts from the natural beauty of the red sand stone," said Dave May who would like to see the frame removed.

The city of Colorado Springs told 11 News the idea came from other metal frames at scenic spots across the globe.

Several viewer comments expressed concern over the lack of public input about the project that would eventually be placed in a public park.

11 News searched City Council, Planning Commission and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board agendas for any mention of the project. We found it was first mentioned during the "citizen comment" section of a February 2017 Parks and Rec board meeting that started at 7:30 a.m.

According to the meeting minutes, Janet Suthers, the wife of Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, pitched the idea for the frame that GE Johnson would donate.

City officials confirmed, that was the last time the matter was discussed publicly.

A city spokesperson said that there is no ordinance that requires the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to collect public input before approving a project like this one.

"It's horrible, it's ugly on a public piece of property and they're public servants," said May.

The city said they will see how people respond to the frame before deciding it it is a permanent fixture in Garden of the Gods.

"I think it's great. I know some people may not believe it, like it's putting something in the natural land, but I think it's wonderful for visitors and tourists to come out here and be able to capture the perfect moment," said Payne.

The city is now asking for comments and feedback about the frame through their "GoCoSprings" app or online at www.coloradosprings.gov/gocosprings

To promote the finished frame, the city's professional photographer will be at the frame on Wednesday, December 20 and will take pictures of visitors with the frame for free between 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.