TOPS ‘father’ of open space projects retiring

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Dan Cleveland

Dan Cleveland

Dan Cleveland, the long time executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition, will retire May 15.

Cleveland, who held the position for 15 years, started the job overseeing the Pikes Peak Area Trails Coalition which has expanded to include open space, on-street bicycling and rural land preservation.

Cleveland’s retirement will be his “second retirement,” as he started the city job after retiring from the Air Force. TOPS Assistant Director Vince Cloward will serve as director until a replacement is found.

Cleveland led the initiative secure money for local parks and open space, resulting in the successful TOPS, program, which in turn has resulted in the creation of Red Rock Canyon, Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Stratton Open Space, Corral Bluffs and White Acres.

The city’s natural beauty, found in these parks, is big contributor to the city’s high quality-of-life ranking, which is the city’s top economic development selling point

Cleveland said that after retiring from the Air Force he wanted to do something for the outdoors and give back to the community.

“I had been a runner most of my adult life and I love the outdoors,” he said. “but when I took the job I never imagined we’d accomplish all that we have.”

Cleveland worked to create open space and trails projects that include the preservation of the Paint Mines, the completion of the New Santa Fe Trail connecting the Air Force Academy to the City of Colorado Springs, the completion of the Pikes Peak Greenway and the Fountain Creek Regional Trail, along with dozens of others.

2 Responses to TOPS ‘father’ of open space projects retiring

  1. I got the chance to meet Dan down at the Earth Day 5k at CC this morning. Great guy. Thanks, Dan for all you have done for our city!

    April 25, 2009 at 4:25 pm

  2. I’ve worked with Dan for 5+ years while he has been active on the City of Colorado Springs Citizens’ Transportation Advisory Board. What a great experience. Thank you for all your service to this community, Dan!

    (I am, however, very suspicous about just how “retired” Dan really will be, what with all the activities he’s involved in!)

    Gaye Crosby Smith
    April 29, 2009 at 9:08 am