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Pioneer's top 20 Westside stories of 2016: 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.

Ryan Weaver (right), an engineer with AECOM, a city consultant, illustrates the future Centennial extension's planned right of way by striding across it in mid-August, during a guided hike with interested citizens. The photo looks south, with Mesa Creek (which also flows into neighboring Sondermann Park) paralleling the right of way in the trees to the right. The location is about a quarter-mile north of where the road going south would curve into Fontanero Street. Another route-hiking group can be seen in the background.
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15. Centennial Boulevard extension. The final pieces of this new roadway between Fillmore Street and Centennial Boulevard were 90 percent designed at the end of 2016, according to Aaron Egbert of City Engineering. He said a contractor will be hired this year to construct the so-called “missing link” (550 feet) connecting two existing segments between Fillmore and Van Buren streets. The remaining stretch (about a mile) between Van Buren and Fontanero/I-25) can't be built until a residential land developer (whose property straddles the route) mitigates an old dumping area, Egbert explained. As part of public outreach, the design was updated in late 2016 to include a crosswalk near the Madison Street dead end that will give the Mesa Springs neighborhood nonmotorized access to trails and open space areas west of Centennial.
       16. Leadership changes. Moving away in 2016 were Jocelyne Sansing, manager of the Old Colorado City Library since 2008 (to a similar post in her home state of Wisconsin); and Jamie Bequette, supervisor of the Bear Creek
In the last of his three campaign stops in Colorado Springs, Donald Trump (who would be elected U.S. president) talks to an energetic crowd inside the Norris-Penrose Event Center's indoor arena Oct. 18.
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Nature Center since 2011 (to become a Peace Corps volunteer in Guyana). A replacement at the library is to be determined, with branch supervisor Trish Blakely serving as the interim (see article at this link ). At the Nature Center, the new supervisor is Mary Jo Lewis, who had previously been the director of environmental education at a nature center in Pennsylvania.
       17. In memoriam, 2016.
       April 19: Bonnie Frum, 70, the operations director at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center from 1997 to her retirement in 2012.
       May 12: Ron Buchanan, 68, a volunteer who led major upgrades to the Bear Creek Dog Park as president of its friends group from 2004 to 2015.
       July 23: Ventura Ruiz, who co-owned Henri's restaurant in Old Colorado City through the latter half of the 20th century. It was nine days after her 106th birthday.
       Aug. 18: Donna Scheeter, 70, who led the
The changes at the intersection of Broadway and Calvert avenues, looking northeast, toward Midland Elementary. ABOVE: How it looked after the intersection was upgraded in the fall of 2016, to include bump-outs that narrow the crossing for pedestrians. BELOW: How it looked during construction. BOTTOM: How it looked from 2006 to 2016, with "temporary" markers installed to indicate where the bump-outs were to eventually be installed.
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Bear Creek Nature Center from 1992 to 2007, including its 2000 building replacement after an arson fire.
       18. General election. Democrat Pete Lee won a fourth term as the District 18 representative, while Republican Stan VanderWerf was elected to replace Westsider Sallie Clark (term-limited after 12 years) as District 3 county commissioner. School District 11 lost
a bond issue/mill levy override bid that would have included building work at West Middle School, Howbert Elementary and Academy ACL Charter. Donald Trump, en route to
being elected U.S. president, visited Colorado Springs three times, including an October rally at the Norris-Penrose Event Center.
       19. Broadway bump-outs. Over a decade after the city agreed with residents about slowing Broadway Avenue traffic, a state Safe Routes to Schools grant paid most of the $243,000 cost to improve two intersections (including the addition of a stopsign at 25th Street) and repair sidewalks along Broadway near Midland Elementary. Each intersection (at Calvert Avenue and at 25th) now features “bump-outs” which cut the former 50-foot Broadway crossing distance in half, according to the Safe Routes grant request. From 2006 to 2016, city-installed temporary yellow markers had defined the bump-out zone at Calvert - remnants
In a photo from March 2016, JP Wellness co-owner Dustin Divitto stands behind a stagewagon-styled sales display inside the Old Colorado City medical marijuana dispensary.
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of a “traffic calming” program that the city discontinued in 2010.
       20. Business notables.
       Junior Achievement of Southern Colorado (JA) - Separate donations of $500,000 and $250,000 moved JA close to its $3.9 million fundraising goal in 2016. Located in Old Colorado City since 2015, the nonprofit that gives young people an interactive understanding of private enterprise plans to have its eighth-grade-focused Finance Park built by this fall, according to Carrie McKee, president and CEO.
       Buffalo Lodge - With new ownership, the venerable Buffalo Lodge on El Paso Boulevard is being rebranded as a “bicycle resort.” This work includes upgrading the property, remodeling units, promoting the location to the growing trend of bicycle tourism and brainstorming ways to make it a go-to site year-round.
       Parking Exempt District - Colorado Springs City Council approved expanding Old Colorado City's parking exempt overlay district a block to the west.
A Beers and Brock Construction crew works on a water-line project for Colorado Springs Utilities at Oswego and 19th streets in July. For the project, the segment of 19th from there up the hill to Mesa Road was closed for about a month. Piled near the workers at right are a few lengths of the old cast-iron water line that was being replaced.
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The district now also takes in the business properties in the 2600 block of Colorado Avenue. The change had been requested by the advisory committee of the Old Colorado City Special Improvement Maintenance District, with the justification that the three large, free district parking lots can handle the bulk of the parking needs.
       MMJ store seeks to fit in - Moving into a storefront with floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows, the JP Wellness medical marijuana ownership sought to give its façade a compatibly historical look and feel, with old bicycles and other collectibles. The idea was to “keep the flavor of Old Colorado City,” co-owner Dustin Divitto said.
       Dairy Queen closure/Pizza Hut relocation - Between them, they had 83 years on the old Westside. See the Westside Pioneer's Dairy Queen article at this link and Pizza Hut article at this link.
       Honorable mention. A movie (“Our Souls at Night”) starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda was shot in Colorado Springs, including the use for about a month of two historic houses on West Pikes Peak Avenue…
       The annual Coronado High School Homecoming Parade in Old Colorado City came close to sharing the fate of the Good Times Car Show (see Story #4), but Principal Darin Smith hopes that a new fundraising effort will cover increasing costs…
       No trial date has been scheduled yet for Robert L. Dear, who is charged with murder in the November 2015 mass shooting at the Planned Parenthood building on Centennial Boulevard that left three dead and eight injured. Dear remains in custody but has not been deemed mentally competent to stand trial…
       The Old Colorado City Foundation (OCCF) again raised money for Bancroft Park with its fourth annual Taste of OCC in May. City Parks is seeking money (in addition to the OCCF's roughly $30,000) to cover the rest of the estimated $180,000 cost for new public restrooms there, a Parks spokesperson said…
       Creative detours were needed when 19th Street between King Street and Mesa Road closed to traffic in both directions for several weeks last summer. Colorado Springs Utilities needed the street to replace an aged water main so it would be done before a contractor under the city's 2C program came in and paved the uphill segment later in the year.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 1/9/17; Community: Ongoing Issues)

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