About the Project
Panorama Park is a 13.5 acre neighborhood park located in Southeast Colorado Springs, adjacent to Panorama Middle School where the largest neighborhood park renovation in city history is currently underway. The groundbreaking was May 8, 2021 and construction is expected to last through early summer 2022.
Prior to this renovation, the majority of the land in Panorama was under developed. There was a small playground, baseball/softball backstop and benches, a small pavilion, picnic tables and a dirt parking lot. Among the key features of the transformed park are:
- A universally accessible playground
- Event lawn with shade trees for hosting music and performances
- Bike park
- Youth area with skate features
- Climbing boulder
- Multi-use sports field
- Fitness stations
- Splash Pad
- Community-made tile art mural, comprised of 7,000+ tiles
- Public art, funded by a National Endowment for the Arts grant
Project leaders include the city’s Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Department; The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national non-profit organization; the Southeast Colorado Springs RISE Coalition; and El Paso County Public Health.
- Provide a safe, accessible, quality community destination park within a 10-minute walk for many Southeast residents
- Add new features based upon community-driven needs
- Replace aging equipment
- Utilize recognized expert partners to advance a resident-led engagement and creative process
- Re-envision the park to address limited opportunities for play and hazardous conditions
This project stems from an Urban Land Institute Advisory Services Panel Report for Southeast Colorado Springs and TPL’s Parks for People Program, which is committed to ensuring that every American lives within a 10-minute walk of a quality park or near an amazing outdoor experience.
Urban Land Institute
The ULI study interviewed more than 85 individuals, reviewed past plans and studies, and engaged in site tours to develop a number of strategic recommendations. Recommendations include Link to Nature, noting that many people reflected that the best part of living in Colorado Springs is access to nature; however, the Southeast lacks the same connections to nature as the rest of the city. The plan also references the need for Community Gathering Space since residents expressed a great need and desire to have a place to come together, celebrate and support social connectivity. The study noted that almost every resident the panel talked with referred to the need for a community gathering space. Some wanted a space for organized sport, some for celebrating quinceañeras, and others an outdoor amphitheater. Overall, the ULI plan served as a launching point to address community needs.
Park Discovery Process
Utilizing the ULI study completed early in 2018, TPL and the City subsequently sought to identify opportunities to leverage shared resources to improve neighborhood parks in the Southeast. Based on site tours, TPL staff used GIS data to analyze impact factors such as population of low-income residents, population density, and population of children under the age of 18.
In an effort to expand TPL’s Parks for People Program to Colorado Springs, the City and TPL engaged in a park discovery process funded by the Colorado Springs Health Foundation. The Parks for People program, which launched in 2012, has demonstrated that increased park usage and health outcomes are achieved through extensive community engagement, from the beginning of the planning process until long after a park’s construction. This participatory design process strengthens community bonds and will ensure that Panorama Park is cared for long into the future. The participatory design process brought a number of partners to the table.
Another component of the strategy was creative placemakingIncorporating artistic or creative solutions as part of urban design and development., a cooperative, community-based process using arts and cultural expression to rejuvenate parks. This helped deepen a sense of place and inspire community pride.
From the beginning, this has been a highly collaborative community process. It is the first project between the City and TPL to bring the Parks for People program to Colorado Springs and will serve as a model for future opportunities.
Local youth were highly engaged throughout the Panorama Park visioning process. The Deerfield Hills Community Center held Play in the Park events, which reached nearly 300 parents and children. During these events, information was shared and participants took surveys to share their vision for the park. New Directions and Second Chance through Faith also collected local youth feedback. Young people at New Directions engaged in a survey challenge, which resulted in the collection of 238 surveys, and Second Chance through Faith coordinated a youth talent show that demonstrated how the park could be used for events. In addition, students at Panorama Middle School helped design specific park features.
A survey was developed with input from RISE. This resulted in 474 community responses sharing community priorities.
Approximately 300 people responded to a picture survey, which was provided both in paper form and during the first Meet Me in the Park Event where attendees used stickers to vote for their favorite images. It asked the question, “How do you play?”
Meet Me in the Park events
“Meet Me in the Park!” carnivals were organized by RISE. Each event included a variety of games and activities, such as a bounce house, games, face painting, family activities, free food and raffle prizes. Other key partners included the Deerfield Hills, Solid Rock Economic Development Corporation and TPL.
Outdoor Art by Joshua Wiener
Colorado-based artist Joshua Wiener was selected by a panel comprised of residents from southeast Colorado Springs to create a permanent outdoor art installation in Panorama Park. Joshua, who specializes in sculpture, was selected for his inspirational designs, collaborative spirit, and drive to create site-specific artwork that becomes a pivotal part of the environment and helps others find the fun and brilliance that surrounds them.
The community is invited and encouraged to engage with Joshua throughout the creative design process. There will be three opportunities for community members to learn more and provide input. All of these meetings will be held at Panorama Middle School (2145 S Chelton Road), which is adjacent to the park.
- June 8, 5:30-7:30 p.m. – artist-led workshop to solicit community input
- June 15, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Wiener to share initial design concept and collect feedback
- June 22, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Wiener to present final design
The budget for this art project is $70,000, funded in part by a Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Colorado Springs-based Bee Vradenburg Foundation.
Tile Art Mural
We are so grateful for everyone’s participation! We are on target to complete the 7,000 tiles needed thanks to all the community members who joined our public workshops, pop ups and small group sessions! There will not be any more public art sessions offered.
The tile art mural is a community-led project that will include more than 7,000 individual tiles made by community members, like you. These tiles will come together to create two beautiful mosaics that celebrate the diversity and unity of Southeast Colorado Springs. The theme is “stepping into our power” and “sharing our light.” They will be permanent features in the renovated park.
Thank you from Panorama Park project partners: City of Colorado Springs, Art by Rizzo, Pikes Peak Library District, Southeast Colorado Springs RISE Coalition and The Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit organization.
Mural Art at the Youth Area
The newly renovated Panorama Park will include a youth area with skatable features and vibrant art designed by the Youth Advisory Council and Southeast Colorado Springs artist Jeresneyka Rose of ArtByRizzo. The youth area art project will be installed by the designers with the help of community volunteers in 2022 when the park renovation is complete.
The City has made an investment of $5.5 million to Panorama Park, including $1 million from the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) sales tax, $4 million from Parkland Dedication Ordinance funds (PLDO) and $500,000 from 2018 TABOR retention funds, approved by voters in 2019.
In addition to City funds, private and nonprofit organizations have contributed an additional $3 million. Thanks to these partners, Panorama Park has a strong design based on extensive outreach within the southeast community and it is the largest neighborhood park renovation in City history.
Thank you to all of our project partners and supporters for your funding and/or future programmatic support.
- AARP Colorado
- Catamount Institute
- H.A. & Mary K. Chapman Charitable Trust and The Mary K. Chapman Foundation
- Children’s Hospital Colorado
- Colorado Department of Local Affairs
- The Colorado Health Foundation
- Colorado Springs Health Foundation
- Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
- Council of Neighbors & Organizations (CONO)
- El Paso County Public Health
- El Pomar Foundation
- Joseph Henry Edmondson Foundation
- Gates Family Foundation
- Gazette Charities/The Anschutz Foundation
- Generation Wild, Pikes Peak Region
- Great Outdoors Colorado
- Harrison School District 2
- ID Sculpture
- Inasmuch Foundation
- Landscape Structures
- Lyda Hill Philanthropies
- Manitou Art Center
- The Mission Continues
- National Endowment for the Arts
- The North Face
- Panorama Middle School
- Pikes Peak Community Foundation
- Pikes Peak Library District
- Rocky Mountain Recreation
- Silver Key
- Southeast Colorado Springs RISE Coalition
- Stream Landscape Architecture & Planning
- Trails and Open Space Coalition
- Transforming Safety Colorado
- The Trust for Public Land