Is Colorado Springs a paradise? | Bob Loevy | Content reserved for subscribers
The dictionary defines a “haven” as a place of safety or refuge. This is my assertion that Colorado Springs is a paradise, especially when compared to many other cities in the United States and around the world.
It helps to think of Colorado Springs as a place of “safety and refuge” if you grew up and spent your early adult years in a large metropolitan area on the East Coast. From five to 33 years old, I lived mostly in Baltimore.
I found moving to Colorado Springs immediate release traffic issues, severe air pollutionnot, violent crime, urban overcrowding and large areas of deteriorating housing.
And then there are the obvious the positive points from Colorado Springs— a spectacular natural setting dominated by Pikes Peak, access to incredible outdoor recreation opportunities in the nearby Rocky Mountains, and a surprising climate it’s high and dry and most of the time lack uncomfortable high humidity.
But there are other more subtle things that make Colorado Springs an exceptionally good place to live.:
Easy annexation: In the early 1960s, colorado sthe state legislature granted the cities such as Colorado Springs the power to easily annex its growing surrounding suburbs to the city. Large subdivisions and nearby commercial areas that are constantly being annexed to Colorado Springs bring with them property tax payments on homes and sales tax revenues from shopping malls.. The result is a financially sound city that can maintain a more than decent level of city services.
Heads up utilities services: In a high, dry state like Colorado, with its cold winters, hhave good utilities such as water, sewer, natural gas and electricity are vital. The fact that Colorado Springs can provide excellent public service stimulates the desire to lodging promoters to annex to the city. Town utilities have done a good job of anticipating the long–range of future water needs of the egrows city and provide them years in advance.
Low population density: Colorado Springs has one of the lowest population densities among American cities. Easy annexation allowed the city to annex large amounts of territory and build mostly single-family housing there. The result is an expanded community with far fewer people and a significant reduction in traffic issues.. The overall effect is to give Colorado Springs a suburban feel rather than a high–density city. I have long argued that “Colorado Springs is a suburb looking for a downtown.”
A city of houses: The founder of the city, gGeneral William Jackson Palmer, said he wanted to make Colorado Springs “the best place for homes in the west.” Jhe city kept that promise. One of the things I What we love most about Colorado Springs is the wide variety of neighborhood choices.
If you want an old–stylish neighborhood wooden houses with a grid street model and heavy landscaping, you can live in one of the oldest neighborhoods that surround the downtown.
IIf you want to live halfway up a mountain and admire the city, there is youdp Skyway and MMountain Shadows.
On the other hand, if you want to live on the pRairie and have a long–distance Mountain skyline view wis, there is no better place than northeast of Colorado Springs. Fnew cities have such a range of different neighborhood settings.
Parks, open space, and hobbies: Once again our founding city, ggeneral Palm, gets the credit of a wonderful city asset. He gave three large public parks at Colorado Springs— Mmonument Valley PArk, Palmer Park, and NOTNorth Cheyenne Canyon Park. Shortly thereafter, a family associated with the Burlington Railroad gave the gburning of godds Parch to the city.
But all of that only got the ball rolling. The city has steadily added parks and playgrounds since, as Uyou Valley Park to the north and Snon-commissioned officernot Pennsylvaniark at the wis. With the parks have come wide open space and recreation programs. He’s the rare kid from Colorado Springs who, growing up, doesn’t play a city– sponsored RecreationAl sports like baseballsoft ball, or football.
Reactive City Council: One of the great charms of Colorado Springs is that average citizens of the city can address the city council at its formal meetings for three minutes on a subject that concerns them, their house, Where their neighborhood. Most big cities don’t have this easy to live entered the public debatenot local city problems ssuch as planning and zoning. In my opinion, The city council has a good record of responding appropriately toh reasonable requests from groups of average citizens.
Good–preserved city center districts: Jhe Dthe towns of most major American cities are surrounded by what is called the “gray area.” It is a residential ring, mainly built in the late 19th and early 20th century, which has physically deteriorated aand become the focus of the city’s growing social problems.
OOne of the most distinctive features of Colorado Springs is that the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the lowercity area onere well preserved and continue to to bring family homes for the city’s middle class. Jso “surround the city center” neighborhoods to understand the NOTNorth End ear, the Old North End, Patty Jewett, Meansto hang up‘s RUN, Bonnyville, etc. There is little to no regentrification in Colorado Springs, Mainly because ohyour city center–region neighborhoods ever “ofgentrified” in the first place.
Not perfect: Colorado Springs has a few downsides. If you’re a loyal Democrat, the city is too Republican. The city’s economy is too dependent on US government military spending. Etcthe frost and the drugs and the lack of affordable housing is there, like in other cities big and small.
Open to everyone : Colorado Springs Blessings, listed above, are available for everything on an equal basis. One of the biggest stories of 2021 was the announcement by the University of California at Berkeley that Colorado Springs was one of the two best cities in the United States Sstates for equal access at residential accommodation. The other town with racially integrated housing has been Port St. Lucy, Fthe.
And that’s how Colorado Springs is a haven, and it is a refuge for all.
Bob Loevy is a retired professor of political science at Colorado College. He enjoyed living in Colorado Springs for 54 years.