Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Benson's Failed Experiment

The City has leased the lot from May 24 to October 1,
2012, in an effort to provide more parking capacity and to
determine if parkers will utilize the lot
-- press release issued by Manitou Springs City Administrator, Jack Benson

Earlier this year, and well before the Waldo Canyon Fire obliterated almost everyone’s ideal of a typical Colorado summer, Manitou Springs city administrator, Jack Benson, decided to experiment with a parking lot. His hypothesis: leasing a parking lot from the Tajine Alami Restaurant, in conjunction to the COG Railway’s donation of a shuttle service to transport people (at no cost to them) from the same parking lot, would “provide more parking capacity.”

As it were, the local Pikes Peak Bulletin, not capable of asking critical questions and demanding evidence from city officials, posted a blurb in its August 16, 2012 edition (“Post-fire effects lead to end of free shuttle”) about the discontinuing of Benson’s experiment. Instead of pointing out the fact that the parking lot/shuttle service was an experiment, the Bulletin, in typical cronyism fashion, called the parking lot free.

Alas, alas, the parking lot was not free. In fact, if the Bulletin had any decent journalistic aptitude, they would have simply used Google. Has anyone at the Bulletin ever heard of a search engine? Alas, alas, it doesn’t appear so.

A quick Google search promptly reveals that, according to this website, the city shelled out a princely sum of $1,500 per month for the parking lot, beginning in May and lasting through October, a six month lease. In other words, Jack Benson’s failed experiment with a parking lot cost the city at least $9,000 - an expensive parking lot that sat empty for days and weeks. And probably will remain so until October, based on the Bulletin’s blurb.

The Bulletin’s August 16 blurb contained the premise the termination of the shuttle service was due to a lack of business in Manitou Springs due to the lingering effects from the Waldo Canyon Fire but omitted the fact that the original agreement for the shuttle service from the COG Railway was to run between June 16 to August 12.

That means the original agreement expired and was not renewed, probably because of a variety of factors, one of which was the fire. But to say the shuttle service ended solely because of the fire without mentioning the shuttle’s service expiration date is either lazy reporting or a simple disregard for reporting facts.

Jack Benson gambled and lost. Benson should apologize for wasting taxpayers' money. He should find a way to refund city businesses $9,000 and by businesses, that does not mean those only who work with and for the city government, which is pretty much any person who sets foot in the building that houses the Bulletin.



  1. interesting. add this to the stack of dollars that these buffoons have wasted. this pushes me back to the big fat chain hanging across the stage in soda springs park. the city got in a vandalism contest with the kids, and they won! that chain is uglier than the ugliest graffiti, and the signs just say, "welcome to manitou, where freedom of assembly is a commodity, not a right!"

    the money wasted on mark snyder's mountain vendetta + the money wasted on this parking lot = enough money to hire ten cops for ten years! instead of a new, tacky law, we could have had improved law enforcement.

    i wonder if the late night armed robbery at the comic shop'll make the news.

  2. awesome reporting! I am excited that a person can read some real news about this wonderfully small mountain community. It seems that the cronyism runs deep up there and the freedom movement has a need to organize against some economic fascists. amazingly, the town could have bounced back ten fold by bringing everyone together around that stage for music and fun but instead the powers that be couldn't rally any support because they burned all the bridges within the community. Advertisers target the younger age groups to sway their extra cash and these pols would do well for their town to do the same. Bring everyone into the fold and everyone can benefit. A big fish still needs the little fish to thrive, in order for it to grow. Create a fall fest arts weekend where all residents provide arts/entertainment/services to visitors without permitting costs and excessive zoning rules. All businesses all residents all good! see you up there soon! peace upon politicians and pigs!

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