Hiawatha Gardens represents a transformational opportunity for the future of Manitou Springs. Through community meetings, surveys, and a robust community engagement process we have begun the process of ascertaining what is best for the community as a whole.
Current efforts regarding Hiawatha Gardens are focused on the short and long-term use of the building, rather than mobility usage on the surrounding site. The Hiawatha Gardens Task Force, created by City Council to provide recommendations, focuses its efforts on determining which locations within the building are retainable, and how to ensure the future use of the building for the community of Manitou Springs.
Previous Community Engagement
At the Hiawatha Gardens Community Meeting on 7/11/22, there were 29 total attendees – 7 of those attended virtually. The meeting began with a presentation by BVH Architecture and the Task Force where a report of previous community response trends were discussed and the Draft Preferred Plan was unveiled. After questions regarding this Plan were answered, the meeting transitioned into a community discussion where participants were asked to answer the following questions:
- What do you particularly like about the Draft Preferred Plan? Why?
- Is there any element of the Plan that you have serious concerns about, if so, why?
- Given financial constraints, it is likely that implementation of the Hiawatha Gardens Plan will have to be accomplished in phases. If that is the case, what element in the Plan would you like to see accomplished in the first phase (such as mobility elements, restrooms, plaza, parking lot improvements, city parking office, dance hall historic rehabilitation)? Why is this your priority?
The Draft Preferred Plan will be presented to City Council later in 2022, and the community responses to the Draft Preferred Plan that were gathered at the July 11th meeting will we posted on our website prior to the Council presentation.
This project is paid for in part by a History Colorado – State Historical Fund grant. The contents and opinions contained herein do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of History Colorado.
The Hiawatha Gardens Task Force III held 13 tours in September, 2021 of the Hiawatha Gardens building after the initial stages of the partial demolition. Above is a recording of the tour.
City Purchase and Evaluations
The City of Manitou Springs purchased Hiawatha Gardens for $1.05 million in January, 2016 using Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority funds. Architectural evaluations of the existing building conducted in 2016 and 2018 indicated the post-1950 additions around the perimeter of the original structure were not structurally sound and should be demolished, but the remaining structure appeared to be in great shape and suitable for redevelopment.
Task Force Work
City Council appointed Task Forces I and II made up of City staff and volunteers to study, clean up, and maintain the site from 2016 – 2019. In 2018 the site was evaluated for use as a community parking location. Following July 2018 flooding, debris was removed and building flood mitigation efforts were completed. A third Hiawatha Gardens Task Force was created by City Council in 2020. This is the current task force overseeing the project.
Community Engagement [Task Force I (2017) & Task Force II (2019)]
Task Force II launched a community participation process in 2018 to solicit local residents’ ideas about the Hiawatha Gardens property and building. A community open house generated ideas and concerns about site/building use. At a November 2018 workshop, residents rated their level of support for a list of potential options for use of the site, including both demolishing and retaining the building. A subsequent online/email resident survey provided further guidance regarding support for the potential options.
Responses from the three outreach efforts consistently indicated more community support for retaining the building for some type of community use than for demolishing it.
Mobility Plan Impacts
In early 2019, the community process paused while a City Transportation and Mobility Master Plan was created. The Plan includes recommended improvements to vehicular traffic volume, movements, and parking, as well as pedestrian and bicycle volume and movements. One of the Plan recommendations is that Hiawatha Gardens become a “mobility hub” to serve local transit, parking, cyclist and pedestrian needs.
- Hiawatha Gardens Community Center and Mobility Hub Plan (2022)
- Resolution 1721 (Retain Historically Significant Sections of Hiawatha Gardens Building) (November, 2021)
- HG Answers to Your Questions (Sep., 2021)
- Hiawatha Gardens Community Comments and Questions (March, 2021)
- History of Hiawatha Gardens (2021)
- Hiawatha Gardens Survey Results (February, 2019)
- Public Meeting Questions and Answers (November, 2018)
- Hiawatha Gardens Parking Structure Feasibility Report from Kimley Horn (September, 2018)
- Hiawatha Gardens 2018 Givens (August, 2018)