After days of sustained outrage, the city of Colorado Springs has taken down a large blue frame erected last week in Garden of the Gods.
The structure, located for less than a week in the High Point Overlook parking lot, appeared to frame Pikes Peak and contained lettering promoting Olympic City USA and Garden of the Gods. The idea came from the Olympic City USA Taskforce, and according to the minutes of a February Parks and Recreation Board meeting, had the goal of "promoting our city as Olympic City U.S.A."
Public outrage on social media came almost immediately, and as of 11 a.m. Monday, an online petition decrying the frame had more than 20,000 signatures. With each name added, the site said the petition would send an email to Mayor John Suthers and all members of City Council with a message to take down the "Ugly Blue Frame."
In an emailed statement Monday morning, the city said that while the initial goal of appealing to tourists was achieved, the frame, "was not well-received by local residents who feel a great deal of ownership of the Park. That viewpoint is extremely important."
At the overlook parking lot late Monday morning, shortly after the frame was removed, Colorado Springs resident Fred Dodd celebrated the move. "I thought it was an eyesore and I'm glad they took it out," he said.
Peg Shannon, also from Colorado Springs, echoed that sentiment. "It seemed like a very strange thing to put in this natural landscape," she remarked.
Shannon said she hadn't seen the frame in person, and had gone to the overlook Monday in hopes of seeing what all the fuss was about. "We came over here and we were just a little too late, because they had pulled it out of the ground," she explained.
As of late Monday morning, two orange cones stood in place of the removed frame, covering the cement footings installed to hold the structure. A slow-moving crane could be seen transporting the frame through the park.
The city says the frame will be relocated, "to a spot where it can meet its original objectives and become an amenity for both our visitors and our local residents to enjoy."