COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)– The big blue frame was removed from the Garden of the Gods on Monday after its placement sparked controversy among Colorado Springs residents.
The frame was bolted into a rock in Garden of the Gods last week. That immediately sparked controversy and an online petition went up. More than 20,000 people have signed the petition asking that the frame be removed.
“Initially I thought it was a joke. Really. I was like, ‘This cannot be true,'” said petition organizer Brian McCarrie.
The city acknowledged in a statement that the concept behind the blue frame focused too much on visitors and didn’t take the feelings of residents into account: “We recognize that while one of our goals is driving tourism, the concept focused too heavily on visitors, and was not well-received by local residents who feel a great deal of ownership of the park. That viewpoint is extremely important.”
The city said the frame would be moved to another location, one that would prove less divisive.
Visitors had mixed reaction to the frame.
“It’s nice but i feel like in a different color, like not blue, color of the rocks, it kinda stands out, and in a different spot,” said one visitor.
“I’ve not yet seen one person online that is like ‘I love the sign, I’m glad it’s here!’ you know, I think most people are like ‘the Garden is pretty enough without this here,'” said another.
The full statement from the city is below:
The blue frame in Garden of the Gods Park was conceived by the marketing advisors on the Olympic City USA Taskforce as an effective way to drive millions of views of our Park by harnessing the power of social media. Based on successes in other cities, the task force put this forward with enthusiasm for sharing one of our most popular attractions worldwide. Our observations since the frame was installed confirmed the task force was correct in assessing its appeal to tourists.
However, we recognize that while one of our goals is driving tourism, the concept focused too heavily on visitors, and was not well-received by local residents who feel a great deal of ownership of the Park. That viewpoint is extremely important.
Olympic City USA is meant to be a unifying concept, and one that was created to enhance – rather than divide – our civic pride. We have received some very thoughtful citizen comments asking for its relocation and we thank those citizens who took the time for constructive communication. In recognition of public sentiment, we are in the process of removing the frame from its current location.
While the initial execution was flawed, we are excited about the opportunity to eventually relocate the frame to a spot where it can meet its original objectives and become an amenity for both our visitors and our local residents to enjoy.