Colorado Springs Sheds City Services

(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
Cash-strapped Colorado Springs is closing recreation centers and pools, shedding police and firefighter jobs, ending trash collection in parks, and letting one third of its streetlights go dark.

The Colorado city, in the shadows of Pikes Peak (pictured), is home to Air Force and Army bases, the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and a number of evangelical Christian organizations, including Focus on the Family and the New Life Church.

As the Denver Post reports, residents are about to discover "what it looks and feels like when budget cuts slash services most Americans consider part of the urban fabric."

The city is selling its police helicopters. It's getting rid of burglary investigators and a vice team. It's closing museums. It's ending bus service on evenings and weekends. It's cutting its street paving budget. It's letting vegetation in its parks die out.

Here's a telling detail from the Post: "Neighbors are encouraged to bring their own lawn mowers to local green spaces, because parks workers will mow them only once every two weeks. If that."

The cuts come after voters rejected an effort to triple property taxes in November designed to address budget shortfalls that grew out of a drop in sales tax revenue tied to the recession.

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