Westside Pioneer Home Page

The Westside Community Center's Fall Festival in late October attracted a number of Halloween-inspired costumes, including this Lego man.
Westside Pioneer photo

Pioneer's top 20 Westside stories of 2018: numbers 15-20 & honorable mention

       Editor's note: The article about story numbers 1-7 can be found at this link and the article about story numbers 8-14 at this link.
As seen from Fillmore Street, three cranes work on Colorado Springs Utilities' water treatment plant reconstruction in early January 2019. The project started in early 2018 and is scheduled to continue into 2020.
Westside Pioneer photo
Jan. 13, 2019
       15. Bear Creek Nature Center - new exhibits. Owned by El Paso County, the center at 245 Bear Creek Road unveiled new and refurbished exhibits in January. Other than various nature programs for which fees are charged, the center in Bear Creek Regional Park is free and open to the public. An article about the exhibits is at this link.
       16. Mesa water plant. A $37 million reconstruction started in 2018 and is scheduled to continue into late 2020 on Colorado Springs Utilities' water treatment plant on the Mesa, at the northeast corner of Fillmore Street and Mesa Road.
       The Utilities website defines the project scope as a “reconfiguration of the solids drying beds; and construction of a new main pretreatment building, two small auxiliary buildings and a new raw water vault.”
       Water is piped to the plant from different sources. One of these is snowmelt from Pikes Peak, captured at a diversion on Fountain Creek at 33rd Street.
       No project traffic impacts are expected, although motorists can often see tall cranes at work on the site.
       Also in 2018, the Mesa plant was renamed after Phil Tollefson, who was the first CEO of Utilities after it changed in 1993 from a city department to a city-owned
A cross-section graphic displays the difference between the current 30th Street (24 feet wide) and the future 30th (37 feet.) The space would be gained by cutting into the hillside and building a retaining wall (as depicted in right side of graphic). According to project engineers, the five feet on either side could be used for bicycles or a vehicle breakdown lane.
Courtesy of Colorado Springs Engineering
enterprise. He served in that capacity until his retirement in 2005.
       17. 30th Street. As announced at a public meeting in June, a 2020 construction start date is planned for a major rebuild of this roadway between Fontanero Street and Mesa Road; however, issues have arisen in terms of accelerated federal/state environmental review and project cost (the previous budget was $8.6 million).
       According to project manager Robin Allen, the current level of design is 30 percent - “we will have a better idea of real cost once we hit 60 percent plans, which should be completed in March of 2019.”
       As planned, the project will cut into the hillside to widen the two-lane roadway, but not for extra traffic lanes. They will be paved shoulders for cars to pull over or bicycles to use. Another major element is revamped intersections, including 30th at Gateway Road (the main entrance to the Garden of the Gods), which will become a roundabout.
       18. Rock Ledge greenhouse. Fundraising to build a greenhouse like the one used by the Chambers family in the late 1800s is continuing in earnest at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site. After four years in which Folk Art Festival organizer Kathy Read earmarked profits from her annual event for that purpose, a letter went out to ranch supporters in December, asking for tax-deductible donations to help fulfill the goal. According to the letter, from Ranch Manager Andy Morris and Living History Association President Ron Wright, “the reconstruction of the historic greenhouse (built in 1876) is the final piece needed to
A late-1800s photo shows the location of the Chambers family's greenhouse behind their main, two-story dwelling, which has been restored in modern times as the Rock Ledge House on the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site. Plans call for construction of a greenhouse that would be built in roughly the same location as before and with a similar design.
Courtesy of Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site
fully illustrate the Chambers' story at Rock Ledge Ranch.”
       Steam-heated and estimated to cost about $290,000, the building will let the city-owned working ranch off North 30th Street grow “heirloom plants” for the vegetable garden; develop 19th century flower varieties; and offer classes, workshops and demonstrations, the letter states.
       19. Westside Community Center changes. Colorado Springs Parks decided in 2018 to start implementing a nine-year-old master plan for the center this spring - plus goats and chickens. The original approval was in 2010, several months before the Woodmen Valley Chapel took over operation of the city-owned facility on the former site of Buena Vista Elementary. Budgeted at $300,000, the work will focus on parking area changes and new landscaping (including several trees), along with interior curbs,
Joe (left) and Terry Chzechowski are shown in October as they were putting the final touches on their mural outside the Westside Community Center's hallway access to the Diakonia Preschool. The Chzechowskis, who recently moved to Falcon from Saratoga, New York, created the mural at no cost to the center except for the paint itself. “We do this for nonprofits that don't have budgets for things like this,” Terry elaborated. “It helps them get away from that institutional feel.”
Westside Pioneer photo
gutters and sidewalks, according to Kim King, the Parks administration manager.
       The master-plan effort will also incorporate a new strategy for the community garden, one in which a private group (working with Parks staff) is running the garden as a cooperative, instead of the traditional method of people renting individual plots. According to plans, sheds and yard space for the animals will be developed next to the garden.
       Also in 2018… Stu Davis, previously the community liaison for the Springs Rescue Mission, was hired in late 2018 as Community Center director. He replaced Ken Norwood, who had started in 2017 and stepped down midway through 2018.
       A fundraiser has started to buy new equipment for the center's fitness room.
       20. Kids get outdoors. A program to get students outdoors in an academic way is in its second year at Howbert Elementary.
       The Pleasant Valley neighborhood K-5 school is working with the Westside-based Catamount Institute and its “Outdoor School.”
       Built into the curriculum with spread-out dates and times, the program's school-year commitment includes trail work and nature projects that make use of the nearby Garden of the Gods.
      
Howbert Elementary Principal Bryan Relich hands a bucket with mulch to a student during a 2018 community service project in the Catamount Institute's "Outdoor School" on the Ridge Trail in the Garden of the Gods.
Westside Pioneer photo
Catamount, a non-profit environmental educational organization, has been headquartered at the Beidleman Center in Sondermann Park since 2004.
       Howbert Principal Bryan Relich said he is pleased with how the Catamount arrangement is opening up the outdoors to students. With Howbert so close to the Garden of the Gods and Rock Ledge Ranch, “we need to take advantage of that,” he said.
       As one proof of the program's popularity with students, “our attendance is almost perfect” on the Catamount days, Relich cheerfully pointed out.
       Honorable mention.
  • The Sacred Heart Catholic Church at Colorado Avenue and 21st Street unveiled its renovation/restoration at a dedication ceremony in late May. The roughly $2.5 million project upgraded most of the 96-year-old structure's interior and restuccoed/repainted its exterior.
  • Sandy Hancock, who grew up in Pleasant Valley, was hired as the manager of the Old Colorado City Library in September.
  • Sometime after the naming ceremony, when "his" sign had been installed alongside I-25 at the Fillmore Street bridge, Don Stratton posed in front of it.
    Courtesy of Randy Stratton and Lisa Bachman
    Don Stratton, who survived the maelstrom of Pearl Harbor and re-enlisted later in the war despite the burns he'd suffered, was honored by having the Fillmore/I-25 bridge named after him. The local resident has published a book about his war experiences, titled “All the Gallant Men.”
  • For the fourth straight year and seventh time in the event's 14 years, Marc Sawtelle won the Old Colorado City Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off. His all-time record? 1,338 pounds.
  • Yann Ulrich became principal at Holmes Middle School in October, midway through the first semester of the 2018-19 school year. A 20-year School District 11 veteran, he replaced Rob Utter, who had been principal for the last 11 years. D-11 officials provided no reason for Utter's departure.
  • There's been an annual car show in Old Colorado City for 27 years, but never one with as many vehicle entries as the 535 in 2018. The Old Colorado City Customs & Classics Car Show had actually been shooting for 600, according to organizer Ace Cosley.
  • The Garden of the Gods Trading Post announced it will give $100,000 each year to its namesake city park starting in 2019, for a gift totaling $1 million. Started in 1929, the Trading Post is located at 324 Beckers Lane, a Manitou Springs address that's just outside the Garden.
  • Marco Antonio Garcia-Bravo is scheduled to face trial in June regarding his part in the kidnapping and shooting deaths of two Coronado High School students in 2017. According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Mexican national is a “documented gang member” who was in the United States illegally when the crime occurred.

    Westside Pioneer article
    (Community: Ongoing Issues)

    Would you like to respond to this article? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)