Friday, September 22, 2006

Lines on new asphalt disappear on rainy nights

QUESTION: I’m really impressed with the new asphalt on the city streets but discovered a problem. When we had all the rain the streets turned shiny at night and you couldn’t see the lines at all. Streets looked like one solid sheet of ice. It was frightening, especially when we went down South Tejon Street where there are now just two lanes, one each direction, under the railroad overpass. Would it be possible for some sort of reflectors to be added?
- Harold Glen
ANSWER: A new “high-build paint” was used for the lines on these streets. “It goes on thicker, and we were hoping it would cure those problems, but it didn’t,” said principal city traffic engineer David Krauth. We understand there’s an issue but have to be careful about what we do to solve it,” he said. The pop-up reflectors don’t work well here because they are destroyed by snowplows. “Several years ago we used recessed markers and they filled up with sand.” Krauth said there are several different things they want to try, but “we face issues of expense and the time to do it.”

Residents can adopt parks, trails and medians

QUESTION: Several of us in our neighborhood are willing to take care of a median in our area. Who do we check with to adopt it?
- Danny B.
ANSWER:If it’s in the city, it’s through the city’s Adopt-a-Park program, which also includes medians and trails, said Kim King of the Parks Department.

Information on the city’s Web site includes an application. Go to and click on Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services,” then “Volunteering & Park Dedications,” then “Adopt-a-Park.” They ask for a one-year commitment and quarterly reports, and there will be an official sign saying you’ve adopted that particular median, park or trail. Be aware that although they’ve adopted an area, adopters won’t be able to do their own thing with the landscaping unless they work with the Parks Department staff. "As our parks system is growing, the Adopt-a-Park program provides a real service for us when people help clean up and maintain areas,” King said. There are offshoot programs including Springs in Bloom, where flower beds and gardens are adopted and maintained.

If you’re interested in a county park or trail, go to Parks_and_Leisure_Services and click on “Volunteer Opportunities"

Friday, September 08, 2006

Boulder Crescent Park slide remembered by families

LADYBUG SLIDE: I have recently moved back to Colorado Springs. My family moved here in 1966, and we lived at Boulder Street and Wahsatch Avenue. I enjoyed the small park at Boulder Crescent Park at Boulder and Cascade. I remember playing on a large bright orange “ladybug” round slide in the park. People today have questioned my memory because all that is left is the concert pad at the park. Can you help me out with the history and the demise of the ladybug from the park?
- Wes Soule
ANSWER: We asked readers if they remembered the ladybug and they certainly did, my goodness they did. Families had their own special names for the playground apparatus and fond memories of time spent in the park.

“Mr. Soule’s memory is doing just fine,” said reader N. Fischer. Fischer’s family called it "The Pumpkin Slide. My 50-something kids still ask about it when we drive by.”

John Roe sent his mother Kay’s recollections of what they, too, called "The Pumpkin."
and said "It was made of fiberglass, and the City had some trouble keeping the slide in repair and smooth. Perhaps that was one reason for its removal? Though we do remember that the downtown area was deteriorating, and the City often found drunks and their bottles in the area (a poor thing in a play area). "

Colorado Springs native Marjorie Swearingen said she remembers “the orange slide (also red and green) was in the triangle at Platte, Cascade and Boulder Crescent.
“My children and I called it The Mushroom Slide. We spent countless hours crawling through the holes in the side, pretending the inside was the fort and we were defending ourselves against invaders. We have funny photos of the kids sticking their heads through the holes."

Pamela Bayer’s grandfather used to take her to the climbing structure in the 1960s. "It looked like half an egg. We called it the 'Egg Park' because Grandpa said it was a buried dinosaur egg, and the baby dinosaur made the holes when it hatched!”

Laurie Struck, a Colorado Springs native, said Soule’s question about the ladybug slide brought back wonderful memories. "I remember my parents taking my brothers and me there on purpose so we could play on that giant, colorful bug! Even today, all these years later, I look over at the park when driving by and still expect to see it there. . . . In my memory it still is!”

Virginia Clark responded: “In the 1960s our children enjoyed a trip to 'The Little Cheese House' at Boulder Crescent. They thought it looked like a round, red wax-wrapped Gouda cheese! We followed play time on the slide with ice cream at Borden’s Creamery nearby.”

The ladybug slide makes Nanette Heflin think about the family dentist. When her sister Lisa was about 12, “she put her head out of one of the view holes, at the same time a boy decided to slide down the wrong side of the structure, and he landed on her and broke her two front teeth off on the rim. Our family dentist got to see a lot of her for a while.”

Betty Griffin said the slide was “officially named 'Imagine' and the kids surely did,” including her oldest daughter who renamed it "Imogene."

J. Michael Riley recalled it was "Orgledorf" then "Noitanigami" which is “imagination” spelled backward which his nephew "lettered on the tailgate of his hot pickup truck!”

"I remember when my six sisters and myself were always taken there by my grandparents to play at the park only we called the big orange thing the " Imagine". We always wanted to go and play on the Imagine and imagine different things! I can remember going inside and peeking out through the tiny holes that were put all around it like little windows in a space ship." Lezlee Ormsby-Gillaspie

Sue Crozier of Calhan said she was "so tickled when I read the letter last Sunday about the 'ladybug' slide at Boulder Crescent Park. Except we called it a WHALE and not a ladybug. have no idea why except it was sort of whale-shaped. It was a bright orange dome shaped thing Later on it was painted a ghastly blue color before it disappeared. My folks had a gift shop at 129 N. Tejon in the late '50's-early 60's and I used to take my friends over there to play. Until a few years ago my husband had an office for 25 years in the building across the street which is now owned by the Catholic Diocese. I remember how disappointed I was that the "whale" was no longer there in the 70's for my son to play on."

Parks Department history shows that the playground was installed in 1956 and included “a play sculpture designed by Fred Schumm of Manitou Springs. Built by park employees, the play structure was climbable, with a slide, and made of steel, resin plastics, concrete, plaster, and wax.” The playground was removed in the early 1980s after it was vandalized, no longer met safety standards and was a health and safety problem when people slept in it, drank in it and used it as a restroom, according to the parks department’s Kurt Schroeder.

CONTACT THE WRITER: Send questions to with “Column Question” in the subject line; mail to “Did You Ever Wonder?,” P.O. Box 1779, Colorado Springs 80901; blog Queries must be signed. No personal replies; because of limited space, not all questions will be answered.

City will look into problem of cars driving on Shooks Run Trail

QUESTION: Why are cars allowed to drive on Shooks Run Trail? We’ve seen several teens driving on the trail. Why aren’t there any posts blocking vehicles?
- Daniel Peyton

ANSWER: They’ll look into the problem, said Kurt Schroeder, city park aintenance, trails and open space manager. However, he said that when they curtail access for those on the trail for the wrong reasons it also curtails access for emergency vehicles that may need to use the trail.