Colorado Springs won’t release appraisals in Broadmoor land exchange

From the Colorado Springs Independent: As the city’s proposed Broadmoor land swap enters the decision-making stage, opponents are organizing to try to block the deal, which calls for trading the city’s 189-acre Strawberry Fields, purchased for public park land in 1885, to the resort hotel.

About 25 people attended an organizational meeting last weekend at the home of Richard Skorman, the former vice mayor who helped the city pass, and extend, its Trails Open Space and Parks tax.

Meantime, the city last Friday denied the Independent access to appraisals of the tracts in question, citing a portion of the Colorado Open Records Act that says officials “may deny the right of inspection” to real estate appraisals “until such time as title to the property or property interest has [been] passed” to the city.

Skorman called the denial “a huge breach of the public trust.”

“It would be my expectation they would want this to be as transparent as possible,” he says, “especially with all the acrimony involved in this. I would hope that this is a public trust, and they don’t want to appear to be doing something in secret.”

Opponents will meet in the next couple of weeks to organize volunteers and raise money for a possible court challenge, Skorman reports. “Everybody’s quite passionate, and we’re definitely going to become our own action committee to try to influence the decision-makers,” he says.

Council hears a briefing on April 11, and the Parks Advisory Board votes on a recommendation to Council on April 14.

If Council approves the deal, opponents can accept that or go to court, because the city’s real estate manual says, “As the decision to enter into a land exchange is an administrative act, there is no right to appeal City Council’s approval or denial of a land exchange proposal.”

Visit the Colorado Springs Independent for more.

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