By 2050, Colorado Springs is slated to become the largest city in Colorado, with another 150,000 people projected to move here, according to Mayor John Suthers. That’s why the City says, it’s essential to plan ahead, and one of those ways is through the Trails, Open Space, and Parks or (TOPS) program.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the voter-approved, City sales tax program, which strives to take care of our trails, open spaces, and parks, citywide.

“What it has been able to do, is allow for 7,500 acres of open spaces, over 66 neighborhood and community parks across our community, to be either improved or built, and then over 53 miles of trails for all of our citizens to use,” said Britt Haley, the Parks Design and Development Manager for the City of Colorado Springs and the (TOPS) Program Manager.

In April 1997, Colorado Springs Voters passed the (TOPS) ballot measure, a 0.10% sales tax, or one penny on every $10 purchase. It currently generates upwards of $11-million annually, and it’s a program that continues to benefit generations for years to come.

“For descendant communities, especially of Native American groups…. and I think if people know more about the past of those places, then they’re more connected to those places, and more motivated to take care of them,” said Anna Cordova, the Lead Archaeologist for the City of Colorado Springs’ Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services.

The program continues to protect and preserve several parks, open spaces, and trails across Colorado Springs.

“So we get to manage properties like Red Rock Canyon Open Space, which is kind of a sister park to Garden of the Gods, Stratton Open Space, Bluestem Prairie Open Space, and quite a bit of the urban trail system,” said Gillian Rossi, the Park Ranger Supervisor for the (TOPS) program.

There is still a long road ahead, and the City hopes to extend the program this year, for another 25 years, as it is set to end in 2025.

“This community is very passionate about the outdoors… it is who we are as a community, and it just helps us to make Colorado Springs the great place that it is,” said Matt Mayberry, the Cultural Services Manager for the City of Colorado Springs’ Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services.