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Manitou Springs looks into adding another parking lot as tourism spikes

City may buy the Dillon Motel on Manitou Avenue to convert it into a parking lot
Posted at 10:10 AM, Nov 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-28 12:10:19-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Manitou Springs City Council is looking into buying the Dillon Motel on Manitou Avenue near the Highway 24 interchange. If a deal is reached, the lot could be converted into parking.

A man who lives in Manitou Springs said tourists tend to park in neighborhoods when lots get full.

"Parking in neighborhoods is not encouraged. It's disrespectful for the locals, parking is at a premium for everybody including locals," Mike Casey, who's lived in the city for 35 years, said.

Parking is always a nightmare, especially during warmer months, Casey said. "I got a season pass to the parking lot across from my business and during the summer, if I'm not there before about 11 o'clock, I'm on the hunt like everybody else."

A tourist visiting from New Hampshire was actually surprised he found a parking spot. "I can imagine this is a battle down here on a nice summer day," Michael Campbell said.

The city is trying to reduce crowding by lowering prices in empty lots to encourage more people to park in less busy areas.

"Parking capacity during our peak season, especially the summer season, mid-summer is sometimes over 100% which means people are parking where they shouldn't be," the city's spokesperson, Alex Trefry, said.

City leaders anticipate a record year for tourism since the pandemic, based on its camping and lodging tax revenues.

"Last year we got about $305,000 in camping and lodging taxes, and this year is estimated to have $315,000," Trefry said.

Manitou Springs residents encourage tourists to take a bus or ride a bike into town.

"The parking scenario is Manitou's number one problem, I think," Casey said. "It's not so much that Manitou's changed, but it's getting loved to death."

The city council is starting negotiations to buy the Dillon Motel for parking, but it's unclear if a deal will be made any time soon.

Manitou Springs City Council to decide whether to add more parking