Trust For Public Land, City Leaders and Colorado Conservation Champions Applaud the Resounding Renewal of The Trails, Open Space, And Parks (TOPS) Measure by the Voters of Colorado Springs, Colorado
Denver, CO – Trust for Public Land [TPL], Colorado Springs city leaders and Colorado conservation champions joined together in applauding voters for approving Issue 1, the Trails, Open Space, and Parks (TOPS) measure.
“By renewing the TOPS program, the voters of Colorado Springs have resoundingly spoken in favor of investing in creating and caring for the outdoor spaces that make the city such a vibrant place to live,” said Jim Petterson, Trust for Public Land’s Mountain West Region Vice President. TOPS provides much-needed investments in protecting open space, building and maintaining new and existing trails and parks, like Panorama Park in Southeast Colorado Springs, while making substantial progress in closing the nature gap for our youth and families. Today, nearly a quarter of Colorado Springs residents don’t live within a 10-minute walk of a park or greenspace. The renewal of TOPS will provide funding needed to help close that gap in the years ahead.”
“Thank you, Colorado Springs voters, for renewing your commitment to our parks, trails and open space. Voters have stepped up over the last several years to do what’s best for Colorado Springs, and now that includes our park system. Our parks have always been an essential part of the quality of life in Olympic City USA, and they are what draw so many residents and visitors to our city. With the passing of Issue 1, the Trails, Open Space and Parks program (TOPS) will continue to thrive for the next 20 years and help us continue to create a sustainable parks system with better access for all,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. “With voter support over the last several elections, we have been able to fix our city’s three most serious infrastructure issues – roads, stormwater and parks – while still ensuring Colorado Springs residents have among the lowest per capita municipal tax burden in the country.”
Since voters first approved it in 1997, TOPS has conserved over 7,500 acres of open space, built or improved 67 parks, and constructed more than 53 miles of trails. The TOPS Program is funded by 0.1% sales and use tax, collecting a penny for every $10 dollars of purchases in the City of Colorado Springs, with those funds completely dedicated to stewardship, acquisition, construction and maintenance of trails, open space, and parks for the City of Colorado Springs.
“Thank you once again to the voters of the City of Colorado Springs! One of the truly special qualities of the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) dedicated sales tax is that it was originally proposed, over 25 years ago, by our citizens. This election shows that our voters continue to champion our parks, trails and open spaces. When we reflect on what makes the City of Colorado Springs memorable and distinctive, it is no surprise that the places impacted by TOPS are often mentioned first. Our beautiful surroundings make Colorado Springs stand out and this extension ensures our wonderful trails, open spaces and parks will be conserved for future generations,” said Britt Haley, Director of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Department of Colorado Springs.
Beyond TPL, the longstanding TOPS Measure has had broad support across the city, from community park leaders, to trail and conservation champions.
“I am thrilled and grateful that the voters have extended the TOPS Program for another 20 years! The program has been a huge success in preserving open space in Colorado Springs, largely due to the dedicated staff at the Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department, the citizen oversight provided by the TOPS Working Committee and the Parks Advisory Board, the many non-profit supporters, such as the Trails and Open Space Coalition, and the very valuable support and assistance of our partners at Trust for Public Land. We wouldn’t be a success without their support,” said Bob Falcone, Chairman of the TOPS Working Committee.
“The Trails and Open Space Coalition thanks voters for showing their support for our TOPS program, improving our quality of life and creating spaces that contribute to our physical and mental health. Extending TOPS for an additional 20 years will mean hundreds of acres of new open space, more miles of connected trails and dollars for new parks like Coleman Community Park,” said Susan Davies, Executive Director at Trails and Open Space Coalition.
“Congratulations and thank you to the voters of Colorado Springs, for approving the TOPS ballot extension! With the inclusion of the 75% safeguard in the open space category, you have ensured that our community will continue to grow our list of beautiful places and inspiring trails to be protected in perpetuity,” said Cory Sutela, Executive Director of Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates. “With this extension we also have the security of knowing our existing parks, trails and open spaces will be better cared for over the next 20 years. You just helped to make Colorado Springs better – thank you!”
In Colorado, TPL has helped conserve 160,417 acres of open space and increased access for nearly 160,000 Coloradans, who are now within a 10-minute walk of a park or greenspace including 76 percent of Colorado Springs residents. TPL has partnered with the city of Colorado Springs for over 30 years to acquire, create and revitalize new city parks, from Stratton and Red Rocks Open Space Parks to Ute Valley and Panorama Park.
“In its 50 years of existence, TPL has worked closely with dozens of communities across Colorado and hundreds across the country to create dedicated sources of public funding for parks, trails, open space and climate resiliency. We are proud to have collaborated with Mayor Suthers, the Colorado Springs city council and many community advocates to help secure the renewal of the TOPS measure,” Petterson of TPL continued.
TPL is a national leader in supporting community organizations, and advising state and local governments, to design, pass, and implement state and local public funding measures for parks, climate, and conservation. Since the inception of its Conservation Finance program in 1996, Trust for Public Land has helped pass 646 ballot measures—an 83 percent success rate—creating nearly $93 billion in voter approved funding for parks, land conservation, and climate change mitigation.