The people have spoken and the City listened: Big blue frame comes down

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The people have spoken and the City of Colorado Springs listened.

The controversial blue frame installed in Garden of the Gods is no more.

The frame went up on Thursday, Dec. 14 and was taken down Monday morning — just four days later — by city officials.

The 12-foot frame branded with “Olympic City USA” was installed in the High Point parking lot just off Ridge Road as a way for visitors to capture their experience and the beauty of the city in a unique way.

It was originally said the frame would stay at least until the end of 2018.

Outrage quickly ensued and city leaders took notice.

Vicki Patterson said, “Love this park. Let’s keep it the way it is.”

Patterson says she’s been opposed to the big blue frame since day one and she’s clearly not alone.

Over the weekend, an online petition was started calling for its removal. In just two days, it garnered more than 20,000 signatures.

“I felt like we had no say in this at all. We’re taxpayers. This is a city park. Perkins, when they donated this park to the City, they didn’t want anything to mess with it at all and so I thought, ‘no, this shouldn’t be here’,” said Patterson.

On Monday, Dec. 18, the City released this statement:

“The blue frame in Garden of the Gods Park was conceived by the marketing advisors on the Olympic City USA Taskforce as an effective way to drive millions of views of our Park by harnessing the power of social media. Based on successes in other cities, the task force put this forward with enthusiasm for sharing one of our most popular attractions worldwide. Our observations since the frame was installed confirmed the task force was correct in assessing its appeal to tourists.

However, we recognize that while one of our goals is driving tourism, the concept focused too heavily on visitors, and was not well-received by local residents who feel a great deal of ownership of the Park. That viewpoint is extremely important.

Olympic City USA is meant to be a unifying concept, and one that was created to enhance – rather than divide – our civic pride. We have received some very thoughtful citizen comments asking for its relocation and we thank those citizens who took the time for constructive communication. In recognition of public sentiment, we are in the process of removing the frame from its current location.

While the initial execution was flawed, we are excited about the opportunity to eventually relocate the frame to a spot where it can meet its original objectives and become an amenity for both our visitors and our local residents to enjoy.”

For local business owner Torie Giffin, she really likes the concept of the frame, just not in that spot.

“I think tourists would love it. I mean personally I like the branding of Olympic City USA. I think tourists would have really grabbed onto it. The location, I think is what really upset most people,” said Giffin.

Opponents took to social media to bash the decision and a real-life parody of the frame is being spotted around town.

Now all that’s left are two orange cones where the big blue controversy ends.

Patterson said, “I hope they do find a place for it but they also need some citizen input and they had none.

“I think more thinking and community notification about things ahead of time and just really giving things some time too,” said Giffin.

The City says the big blue frame will now be relocated.

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