Pioneer's top 20 Westside stories of 2016: numbers 8-14Editor's note: The article about story numbers 1-7 can be found at this link and the article about story numbers 15-20 and honorable mention at this link.
9. Centennial Boulevard reconstruction. Paving on parts of this four-lane arterial between Garden of the Gods Road and Fillmore Street had not been replaced for more than a quarter-century, and it showed. A $9 million Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) project, started in September, is rebuilding the roadway. The initial segment - described by city engineers as being the worst portion - is between GoG Road and Chesham Circle. The work there in 2016 required digging out the old pavement and medians down to the dirt. Before winter, the contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure Co., paved two southbound lanes and started building the new medians. Centennial is temporarily realigned to four lanes, with the balance of the project to be completed in 2017, starting in March, the schedule shows.
10. Road tax. Approved by city voters in 2015, the 2C road-repair program - funded by a .62-percent sales tax - started in 2016 and is to sunset after 2020. Over
11. Camp Creek flood-proofing. A $1.1 million project on Camp Creek last fall - stabilizing the channel and its banks upstream from the Pleasant Valley neighborhood - was the first of two major creek improvements budgeted by the city in 2016 and 2017. The other is a stormwater detention pond (estimated cost: $7.8 millon) at the north end of the Garden of the Gods. Federal/state grants are covering most of the cost of both projects. The pond's construction is scheduled to start in June. The 17-acre site will replace a smaller, temporary sediment pond that filled up rapidly during heavy spring rains in 2015. An environmental assessment predicts that the pond's 175-acre-foot capacity will “reduce the peak outflow rate in the 100-year event to less than half of the inflow rate, thus greatly reducing the size of the floodplain through the Pleasant Valley neighborhood.”
12. Avenue two-laning study. Manitou/Colorado Avenue once consisted of four lanes all the way to the Colorado Springs downtown. In 2004, Manitou, at the urging of merchants who believed slower traffic would help business, slimmed the well-traveled roadway through part of town to two lanes. In 2017, that alignment is to be extended east, past Manitou's Highway 24 interchange. There, it will eventually match up with the just-started WAAP project (see Story #5 in Stories of the Year 1-7 at this link), which is planned to continue the two-laning east to about 31st Street. What will happen then? And what about bicycle lanes? Colorado Springs officials are hopeful
13. Land - construction. The Westside remains popular with builders for commercial and residential construction. Most prominent in 2016:
Gold Hill Mesa - Residential construction continued to move forward. Especially visible was 21st Street's widening between Lower Gold Camp Road and Broadway Street, allowing new townhomes to go in around the northeast corner of those streets. Also, the ownership partners completed a widening/paving of 21st Street along the edge of the Gold Hill property - from Lower Gold Camp Road to Broadway Street.
Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence - Remodeling finalized the 16,000-square-foot, two-story building at 530 Communication Circle in March 2016. Providing programs and resources for veterans transitioning to private life, the privately funded facility had 3,021 visits during the year, according to Mt. Carmel Director Robert McLaughlin. Under construction a few hundred feet away (and due to open in 2017), at Communication Circle and Moreno, is Mt. Carmel's 7,500-square-foot, one-story health and wellness facility for vets.
Uintah Bluffs - Planning, grading, utility work and road construction began for this 31-home development on a 13-acre plateau south of Uintah Street. Construction of homes should start this spring, according to developer Matt Craddock. Access will be from Manitou Boulevard. A drainage detention pond is being built near the dead end of Dale Street.
Health Care Resort of Colorado Springs - Offering temporary rehabilitation (97 beds) and assisted living (28 beds), this two-story, 82,000-square-foot structure opened in April at 2818 Grand Vista Circle (off Fillmore Street, across from Coronado High School).
HSPPR Admissions and Lost & Found Center - As part of a multi-faceted expansion and renovation project, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR) opened this two-story, 13,145-square-foot addition which adds kennel space and includes separate waiting areas for cats and dogs.
Fillmore West Retail Center - An International House of Pancakes and a 100-room Best Western Hotel are being
Water tank on Mesa - In a year-long project, Colorado Springs Utilities replaced its 50-year-old, 5-million-gallon water tank with one built next to the old one (which has since been demolished) off Manitou Boulevard. The project, required for maintenance and modernization reasons, had no effect on the southwest Colorado Springs residents the tank serves.
Old Bristol School - Houses on four lots have been built on the north half of the original Bristol Elementary site (dating back to 1903) in the 700 block of Walnut Street. One house represents a major remodel of a 2,300-square-foot classroom building that was erected in 1951. The other three are contemporary-style homes facing onto Walnut Street.
Spruce Apartments - A four-story elevator structure has been an eye- catcher as part of the construction that started in mid-summer 2016 on this 46-unit apartment building at 22 N. Spruce St. Completion is expected in late 2017.
Pub Dog - A spring opening is anticipated for this barn-styled brewpub being built in the 2200 block of Bott Avenue. It's designed for people who want to eat out with their dogs.
14. Land - plans. These are prominent Westside development proposals:
Sentinel Ridge Senior Living - This was the submittal that dramatized concerns about oversized construction on the Mesa (see Story #6 in Stories of the Year 1-7 at this link). The Senior Qualities Lifestyles Company (SQLC) of Texas proposed a facility south of Fillmore Street with more than 400 units for independent living, memory care
Indian Hills commercial - Olson Plumbing, a 100-year-old Colorado Springs company, wants to buy a 13.3-acre property along the west side of the future Centennial Boulevard extension and construct a building for itself and others that it would lease out. The desired location is across from the previously built Indian Hills Village townhome development off Van Buren Street.
Sacred Heart addition/reconstruction - A submittal in November to City Planning depicts a three-phase vision to upgrade the nearly century-old Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 2030 W. Colorado Ave, remove its two adjacent buildings, add new construction, and in so doing create a significantly changed viewscape along the north side of the 2000 block.
Fillmore Apartments - A concept plan and zone change request were submitted to the city in August for what would be an 84-unit apartment complex on Fillmore Street between Coronado High School and Centennial Boulevard. At the end of 2016, plans were being reworked based on geo-hazard issues, Schultz said.
Robbin Place - It's only three duplexes, but the proposal at 543 Robbin Place riled the neighborhood because of a city regulation loophole that limited discussion, despite hillside and compatibility concerns. Late in 2016, developer Paul Rising resubmitted plans in a way that should allow full input by citizens and any appointed/elected officials hearing the matter.
Westside Pioneer article