Around the region

Here’s what’s making headlines in Southeast and beyond …

Grant boosts Panorama project

Efforts to revitalize Southeast’s Panorama Park got a big boost in March, thanks to a $350,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. In addition, a newly formed youth advisory panel will help guide precisely how those and other dollars should be used. 

The city has been working with the community and the multi-agency RISE Coalition to create a master plan that will guide the redevelopment. Panorama is currently a 13.5-acre open space located at 4540 Fenton Road. Suggestions have ranged from fitness stations and native prairie, to bilingual signs and a community plaza capable of holding events. 

A new advisory board of the park’s primary users, Southeast youth, will have the chance to weigh in on what best fills the need. The panel is expected to conduct semi-regular planning meetings throughout the summer and participate in ongoing community-engagement efforts.

State Sen. Pete Lee

Lee champions safety grant

A bill introduced in March by Southeast’s Sen. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) would extend the Justice Reinvestment Crime Prevention Bill — locally known as Transforming Safety — for three years. 

The pilot program earmarks $4 million annually from parole reforms, and reinvests those funds into grassroots programs designed to mitigate crime in Southeast Colorado Springs and North Aurora. It does so by funding small business lending and community grant programs. 

More than $1 million in grants was awarded to 21 Colorado Springs organizations in 2018, the first year of the program. The first of 2019’s grants are slated to be announced in June.

Transforming Safety is currently set to expire on Sept. 1, 2020. Lee’s proposal, SB64, would extend the sunset to Sept. 1, 2023.

PPCC nursing earns top grade

Pikes Peak Community College’s nursing program was recently named “one of Colorado’s choice nursing programs” by the advocacy collaborative RegisteredNursing.org. The organization promotes excellence in the field by empowering future nurses through tools they need to succeed.

It ranked PPCC’s program first among 28 Colorado schools, based on the percentage of graduates to pass the national licensing exam. RegisteredNursing.org considered institutions that offer associates, bachelor’s and direct-entry master’s degrees in the field.  (You may read the report here.)

Pikes Peak scored a 98.9 percent against to the organization’s research. That put it ahead of Colorado State University-Pueblo (fourth, with a 94.82 percent score); Trinidad State University (sixth, 93.64 percent); the University of Colorado (ninth, 92.62 percent); and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (12th, 91.23 percent).

Express Photo/Regan Foster This photo shows the maquette, or clay model, of a bust of Fannie Mae Duncan. Fundraising is underway to build a public memorial to the iconic club owner and vanguard of the Civil Rights Era.

Express Photo/Regan Foster
This photo shows the maquette, or clay model, of a bust of Fannie Mae Duncan. Fundraising is underway to build a public memorial to the iconic club owner and vanguard of the Civil Rights Era.

Memorial deadline approaches

Residents wanting to have their commitment to inclusiveness set in stone have until May 30 to make their $100 donations. That’s when a granite memorial honoring the late Fannie Mae Duncan will head to the engraver to be etched with the names of those who met the minimum.

Duncan, the founder and operator of the former music venue The Cotton Club, has been credited with easing racial integration and with guiding the city peacefully through the turbulent Civil Rights movement. Her motto “Everybody welcome” has become a rallying call for those hoping to unify the city and celebrate diversity.

Among their efforts is a plan to place a life-sized bronze statue of Duncan at the Pikes Peak Center. The memorial will also include the etched granite stones.

To support the cause, send donations to the Pioneers Museum, 215 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, 80903. Be sure to include “Fannie Mae Duncan statue” in the memo line.

Compiled by Regan Foster

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