Local nonprofit and Colorado Springs Utilities reach agreement ‘minimizing impact’ of power lines on community park

Courtesy Concrete Couch
An event called Sunday Stories on the Land is held each Sunday at Concrete Coyote Community Park.

Long-term plans for a community park southeast of downtown Colorado Springs will no longer be impeded by high-voltage transmission lines proposed by the city's utility agency. 

Following additional negotiations, Steve Wood with the kid-and community-focused nonprofit Concrete Couch said he received word that Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) is planning a different route that will minimize the potential impacts to Concrete Coyote Community Park.

A spokesman for the utility company says the new plan bypasses as much of the property as possible, but a "small sliver of the line may still traverse the park." He said he does not think the work will impede the vision or function of the park.

Concrete Couch learned of the planned project in the summer of 2022 and spent the past year negotiating with the utility. 

Wood said CSU spent ample time meeting with him and discussing his concerns. 

"It really is nice that CSU has been able to compromise and really go back to their plans and find a new way forward with the route with the high voltage lines and allow us to continue doing our work unimpeded," Wood said.

In an email announcement sent to members of Colorado Springs City Council, CSU called the agreement tremendous for both customers and citizens impacted by Concrete Couch’s programs. City council members also serve as the governing board for Colorado Springs Utilities, though the agency and not its board ultimately made the decision.

Courtesy of Concrete Couch

"As a community-owned utility, we greatly appreciate Concrete Couch and other nonprofits that serve our city. Colorado Springs Utilities employees have partnered with Concrete Couch in the past, and we have first-hand exposure to their mission and the difference they make in so many citizens’ lives," the email said.

City Councillor and CSU board member Nancy Henjum helped moderate discussions between both groups. She said she was thrilled not only that a solution was reached, but also about the increased visibility for Concrete Coyote Community Park. 

"They are providing, essentially for free, really profound services that support our broader community that people need to be aware of and find ways to support," Henjum said.

Wood credits the change to civic engagement. He said CSU and city council received an influx of letters, emails, and phone calls from people concerned about the park.

"This is a really big deal because we can continue to do the good work that we've done and we won't have to be concerned with modifying our programming," Wood said. "The way we look at it, concrete Coyote Community Park is just going to get better and better." 

A grand opening for Concrete Coyote Community Park is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023.