Have you got a vision for our city? What does the future Colorado Springs look like to you? Don’t keep it to yourself. PlanCOS is a two-year process by city government to create a comprehensive plan for the future land use of our city—think topics like parks and open space, transportation and neighborhood land use. And they want to hear from you. We talked with Carl Schueler, comprehensive planning manager for the city, about the project.
In a nutshell, what is the goal of PlanCOS?
The goal is to update our 2001 Comprehensive Plan, and make it current and consistent with the community’s vision and choice for the land use future of this city. It’s really the blueprint for the physical development of the city, so it encompasses a lot of topics. It encompasses parks and open space, transportation, zoning and land use and neighborhoods. But it’s not the same as the Strategic Plan because the Strategic Plan typically is a more annual or every couple of years plan for overall priorities for the community that may transcend or go beyond the physical development of the city. For example, if there are choices and decisions about governance, say things like utilities governance, those would fall out of the purview of PlanCOS.
What will happen with this plan?
I would say three things:
- Establish an overall vision we can take pride in as a community.
- Really provide some directional choices—we either want to go this way or that way—for what the community’s priorities are.
- Support all the great work being done with more detailed plans, such as the Downtown Plan or Transit Plan, but provide some framework and context for them all.
Why should people participate in PlanCOS?
Because it’s important to the future direction of our community at the highest levels and that their input is actually used and listened to. Even in our wildest dreams, we’re still going to hear from a relatively small minority of our large city, so therefore you are representing many others. All of us to some degree—those of us who are engaged—represent on behalf of others, and that is a critical community role. If we don’t do that, communities are not as strong.
How can people give their input?
The easiest way is to participate in surveys. We have all sorts of opportunities, including online. Or come to an event that works for you. Opportunities are available on our website: coloradosprings.gov/plancos.
What do you love about Colorado Springs?
1. Natural beauty and scenic views
2. Outdoor activities and recreation
3. Weather and climate
4. Friendly people and strong community
5. The mountains
6. Proximity to and accessibility to the outdoors
7. Small town feel with big city amenities
8. Arts and culture
10. Parks, trails and open spaces
What do you think needs improvement?
1. Road infrastructure and network
2. Modernized transportation (bus, rail, bike, pedestrian)
3. The urban environment
4. Homelessness and social issues
5. Bike infrastructure and safety
7. New businesses
8. Development and redevelopment
10. Outdoor recreation
What areas of focus would you like this plan to address?
1. Upgrade infrastructure
2. Create a complete multi-modal transportation system
3. Increase walkability
4. Reinvest in the city
5. Address and improve certain neighborhoods
6. Focus on infill and revitalization
7. Enhance the quality of life
8. Increase youth talent retention
9. Increase job base and grow workforce
10. Expand visibility of the arts