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Colorado Outdoors

Former bird sanctuary, homeless camp area targeted for major cleanup project in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- You may have traveled past an 18-acre plot of land on South Academy Boulevard between Airport Road and Pikes Peak Avenue hundreds of times and never knew the property was formerly a bird sanctuary.

A local family donated the property to the Aiken Audubon Society in 1982, and the land became the Redwing Sanctuary.

"It was very different than what it looks like now," said Risë Foster-Bruder, a former society president. "There were trails through here. It was an oasis.
During migration, there could have been any number of migrating birds."

She said there also was was an observation tower built, but vandalism and safety concerns led to its removal.

The society donated the property to the city in 2010 because it lacked direct access and became too expensive for the volunteer group to maintain.

"The city wanted us to build a sidewalk along Academy and we couldn't afford to do it," Foster-Bruder said.

Lately, the area has fallen on hard times -- overgrown with invasive trees and populated with illegal homeless camps that have led to brush fires and trash dumping.

But all of that is changing, as city officials have started a major project to clean up and improve the area.

Many of the undesirable trees have been cut down, and much of the trash has been removed. The area is now more open than it has been in many years.

The project has two goals: To use Spring Creek flowing through the area to filter stormwater and reduce flooding risk; and to turn the area into a nice open space for outdoor recreation.

"The first phase, the cleanup phase, is almost finished," said Richard Mulledy, the city's stormwater manager. "The second phase is to actually come back in and restore the property. Bring it back to its natural condition with wetlands, bring back the habitat. We started that process about three years ago."

Mulledy said the city is currently in talks with the Army Corps of Engineers to join forces on the project, and if that happens the Corps would pay two-thirds of the cost, while the city would pay a third.

"It's going to be a two-year project that'll cost between $3 million and $5 million," he said. "It will take a while, but there's a lot to do there."

Many surrounding business owners are glad to hear about the project because they have long complained about homeless camps, litter and property damage.

"Well, that'd be tremendous because we've certainly had a lot of them over the years -- the break-ins and all kinds of invasions," said Rev. William Ephriam, whose New Vision Cristian Center is adjacent to the property. "Sometimes, we try to help the people. But sometimes, you can't help them."

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

Comments

14 Comments

    1. Ah, the COS 150 Tree Challenge.

      Ooops, supposed to plant trees, not cut them down!

  1. So what happened to the 10 million dollars city got to help the homeless? Why haven’t we seen anything done for the homeless and what happened to that money. Or did it magically vanish. Funny how we got a beautiful new welcome to Colorado springs sign at the airport with money from anonymous donors and couple projects that i can’t seem to remember that cost is in the millions that funding came from unknown donors. And still nothing for the homeless built with hasn’t that was specifically for the homeless

  2. The homeless problem there, along Monument Creek, and elsewhere on the trails system is out of control. It’s like a third world country down there and unsafe for travel, filthy, disease ridden and just downright nasty.

    1. Couldn’t have said it better. And the FILTH and BEGGING just keeps moving out of downtown to the north and east. Areas such as Santa Fe trail north of Woodmen in the woods and ravines, RVs parked forever in park n ride lots and along Mark Dabling. Not to mention the vagrancy off Baptist Rd/I25. I guess that’s how COS is “dealing” with disgusting, drug addicted, garbage puking vagrants. NIMBY. Makes the downtown liberals and CC faculty feel better when the “homeless” are no longer visible in their backyard. Cities for Champions or something like that…

      1. I do not disagree with you. It is out of control. That is exactly why I’m asking about the grant money that federal government have us to deal with this situation. What we don’t need is a pretty sign at the airport but spend the money as it was intended. We have two former hospitals that sit empty. Grant money could be spent remodeling St Francis hospital. It has 3 floors where families could be separated from singles and men situated from women cut cutting down takes robberies within that community. Bring a hospital a small clinic could remain in building giving place to stay and health care all in one place. Keep families together protecting homeless women from rape. Skies the ones who want help another outlet to get back in their get. Have you been by the homeless shelter lately? Not a very safe looking place as they can not handle all the homeless. What I’m suggesting isn’t the they but it is more of what is needed. Or money could be spent buying one of the buildings from union printers and remodel into studio apts for homeless. Those that are given a studio could actually help in the remodeling of their studio. It would give them a personal interest in taking care of the place as they helped to create it. Give them a home that would take away the stress if being homeless and an address. A place to relax in after long day something everyone enjoys going to after a hard day

        1. I may get in a hurry when I’m writing and my phone may change words here and there but everyone knows exactly what I’m trying write. We can’t keep closing down homeless camps without having an alternative places for them to go. Problem doesn’t go away by ignoring it just moves it to different spot. It’s like evicting a family from their home because of circumstances they had no control over. Kicking someone who has fallen does not help them stand back up

  3. So, the city just razes these places to the ground, and then … remember when Fountain Creek downtown was a solid line of greenery; and not it’s a barren mess of wind and blowing dirt/rocks along the bike path?

    Hey, cities got a new program to plant trees!

    wO

  4. This city must hate the people who live here as everything they do is for people who DON’T live here.

  5. Wow such harsh cruel words for the homeless. How can people be so judgemental and nasty to broken human beings. Not all are on drugs nobody enjoys being dirty or begging. And I am certain it is not the first choice people losing jobs or a loved one would make but having no where to go no one that cares no income or savings still breathing can’t just lay down and die. You people are heartless and I hope have plenty of money stashed so you’ll never be so down and out.

  6. America is only a sanctuary for illegal invaders, our domestic homeless citizens are told to GTH.

    Another operation “Scatter” that just sends the homeless scattering from one area of ColoFornia Springs to another part.

  7. I may get in a hurry when I’m writing and my phone may change words here and there but everyone knows exactly what I’m trying write. We can’t keep closing down homeless camps without having an alternative places for them to go. Problem doesn’t go away by ignoring it just moves it to different spot. It’s like evicting a family from their home because of circumstances they had no control over. Kicking someone who has fallen does not help them stand back up

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