(COLORADO SPRINGS) — On Tuesday, March 14, the Colorado Springs City Council unanimously voted to approve a major addition of open space property for the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) Program on the city’s east side.

The approval will allow the City to expand its open space network by 1,018 acres with the addition of the “Wild Horse Ranch” property from open space partner The Conservation Fund. The property, located in the Corral Bluffs Candidate Open Space on the city’s eastside, lies directly south of State Highway 94 near South Franceville Coal Mine Road.

The 2014 Park System Master Plan identified this area as a valuable candidate property for the City’s open space system. The City said this acquisition offers views of Pikes Peak and unlocks several significant open space connections, including between Corral Bluffs and Bluestem Prairie open spaces.

The City said the $7.5 million purchase will be funded with revenues from the TOPS sales tax program, with the assistance of The Conservation Fund.

“We are excited to work with The Conservation Fund to secure a major addition of open space, as the eastern edge of the city experiences urban development. Wild Horse Ranch is a unique property that will provide needed open space, wildlife conservation and greater connectivity across the unique Colorado Springs open space network,” said Britt Haley, City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services director.

Once purchased, the Wild Horse Ranch property will undergo a master planning process with opportunities for public input on wildlife, future recreation and public access.

  • Wild Horse Ranch Open Space
  • Wild Horse Ranch Open Space

TOPS is a 0.1% sales tax, or 1 penny on a $10 purchase, that was first approved by voters in 1997. It is used to preserve open space, trails and parks. Since its inception, TOPS has preserved more than 7,500 acres of open space.

For more information on TOPS, visit ColoradoSprings.gov/TOPS.

Among the properties conserved by TOPS are popular recreation areas like the Red Rock Canyon and Stratton open spaces; unique wildlife respites such as the Bluestem Prairie Open Space; as well as the Corral Bluffs Open Space which the City said features world class fossil discoveries. In addition to acquiring land for conservation and recreational purposes, TOPS has also helped improve parks, develop trail corridors and maintain acquired open spaces citywide.