Manitou Springs City Council approved Resolution 1521 on Nov. 2, 2021, directing RATIO Architects to submit final design documents and cost estimates for expanding the Carnegie Library building at 701 Manitou Ave.

According to an intergovernmental agreement between the city and the Pikes Peak Library District, PPLD will move back into the Carnegie building once it is expanded and remodeled. In the meantime, the library will continue to operate from the Manitou Art Center, 513/515 Manitou Ave.

Recently, PPLD CEO John Spears resigned and a new PPLD board of directors has been installed. One of the new director’s reported comments have been interpreted as possibly favorable to censorship.

Councilor Judith Chandler told council near the end of the Tuesday, March 1, regular meeting that she wants to change her favorable vote on Resolution 1521 and asked that the library appear on a council agenda this month, adding that the community needs to make a strong statement on censorship.

Further discussion indicated that most councilors approved placing the censorship issue and Resolution 1521 on the March 22 work session agenda, but most opposed placing the design itself on the agenda.

Councilor Nancy Fortuin expressed that the issues involved were antagonistic at this time and counselled waiting before re-opening library issues.

Chandler raised the library issues during the portion of the agenda devoted to receiving or acting on council correspondence. The library was not on the evening’s agenda.

Earlier, council took up a memorandum of understanding prepared by the new Creative Alliance Manitou Springs, a merged entity formed from the Manitou Springs Arts Council and the Manitou Springs Creative District. Among other things, the proposed MOU defines the alliance’s relationship with the city.

According to City Administrator Denise Howell’s cover memorandum, the new organization “will continue to administrate the State-Certified Creative District program and to oversee public art for the City to limit Staff time and involvement in the selection, coordination, maintenance, and display of public art in public spaces.”

There is no impact on the current city budget, but it was noted that “there is a connection between staff support and Creative Alliance projects, but it is minimal.”

Fortuin told her colleagues that the proposed MOU was a “great starting point” but that it raised more questions than answers. She said that the MSAC has always confused her.

Alliance treasurer Pat Sitzman offered to help her better understand the MSAC. Fortuin wanted the MOU to appear on a future work session agenda.

Sitzman said that the alliance was agreeable to putting the MOU on a work session agenda and to go over the document “line by line.”

Mayor John Graham gave councilors two weeks to submit their questions to Creative Alliance Executive Director Becca Sickbert, indicating that the MOU would appear on an April work session agenda.

Council gave final approval to an ordinance renaming the Transportation and Parking Advisory Board to the Mobility and Parking Advisory Board and adding the Manitou Arts, Culture, and Heritage Advisory Board to the official list of boards and commissions.

Council passed a resolution adopting a water-wise program, which was presented to council Feb. 8. Council asked for the resolution to address the frequency of droughts in our semi-arid climate.

The water-wise program specifies that:
• Watering may occur for each property up to three days a week;
• Watering may occur between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. from May 1 to Oct. 15;
• Watering should be avoided during wind or precipitation;
• Water should not be allowed to pool on hard surfaces or flow down gutters;
• All leaks in sprinkler systems should be repaired within 10 calendar days;
• A shut-off nozzle should be used when washing with a hose;
• Hard surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks and patios should be cleaned with water only if there is a public health and safety concern; and
• Watering with drip irrigation or a hose with a shut-off nozzle are allowed at any time, provided water does not pool on hard surfaces or flow down gutters.

Chandler and Fortuin successfully moved to add wording identifying human-caused climate change as a need for water-wise programs and instructing city staff to help educate the public about the program.

The resolution does not mention enforcement or penalties.

Council also heard the required update from the Hiawatha Gardens Task Force 3.

Since the last task force update, the building has been stabilized and secured after its non-historic or weakened sections were demolished, the firm BVH has been retained to prepare design alternatives and coordination with the Mobility and Parking Board has been enhanced.

To date, no general funds have been used. Demolition costs have been paid from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority and design contract costs from Manitou Arts, Culture, and Heritage funding.

Mayor Pro Tem John Shada raised questions about the parking lot’s lighting and City Engineer Dole Grebenik said that it would be improved by summer.

Shada also asked that the shingles on the roof be uniform and that other visible roof improvements be made. Grebenik said that the roof issues would be taken to the task force board.

Council learned that the city will issue a press release about the Hiawatha Gardens project on March 8. Chandler praised the task force board and the community members who have given their time to the project.

Lastly, council appointed Connie Brachtenbach as an alternate member of the Planning Commission.

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