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Pioneer's picks for top 20 Westside stories of 2015 - numbers 8-14

       Editor'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.

       8. Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center. Renovated and expanded, the center marked its 20-year anniversary with a major renovation that was completed in May. New and/or upgraded are the building entrances, the exhibits (most of them interactive), interior stairway, cafeteria, gift shop (consolidated from two locations into one) and theater. Located at 1850 N. 30th St., by the eastern (Gateway Road) access to the internationally popular, city-owned park, the center is owned and operated by the Garden of the Gods Foundation, which donates a large percentage of its customer revenues to park maintenance.
       9. No Man's Land project. Work is scheduled to start in the latter half of 2016 for this long-planned intergovernmental project to reshape the Colorado
A city paving crew fixes a pothole- ridden segment of Uintah Street west of 19th Street last May. Colorado Springs voters approved a .62-percent sales tax (lasting from 2016 to 2020) to accelerate road improvements.
Westside Pioneer photo
Avenue corridor between 31st Street and Manitou's Highway 24 interchange. (For more details, see Westside Pioneer article, "WAAP works through issues - 'No Man's Land' construction to start after mid-2016."
       10. Road improvement tax. A city-supported ballot issue for road work gained overwhelming support from Colorado Springs voters in the November municipal election. Issue 2C, sets a .62-percent sales tax from 2016 to 2020, with revenues dedicated to road upgrades. The Westside streets tentatively scheduled for this year are 19th/King, 26th, Chestnut, Ridge, Rio Grande and all those in the Garden of the Gods. “The city will launch a new webpage in mid-January where residents can learn more about road improvement projects, revenues and program oversight,” a recent press release states.
       11. Silver Key move begins. After nearly 30 years on the Westside, Silver Key Senior Services plans to relocate in 2016 to a building complex that the
"Before" photo on the Foothills Trail in the Garden of the Gods: Flooding caused by continuous rains in May overflowed and undercut concrete slabs where the trail once ran next to Camp Creek.
Westside Pioneer photo
nonprofit purchased on the east side, in the 1600 block of South Murray Boulevard. Although a definite date has not been determined, a key part of the move has already occurred: In September, Silver Key opened a large kitchen at the new campus. The 4,000-square-foot area is handling all food preparation chores for the Golden Circle and Meals on Wheels programs that Silver Key manages.
       12. Spring flooding. The region's non-stop rains in April and May led to millions of dollars in damage and a federal disaster being declared. On the Westside, flooding forced lengthy closures of Red Rock Canyon Open Space (six weeks) and a mile of the Foothills Trail north of Gateway Road in the Garden of the Gods (3 ½ months). Instead of rebuilding some of the collapsed trail sections beside Camp Creek, the city rebuilt them on higher ground. City projects and at least a dozen volunteer workdays were needed at Red Rock.
"After" photo on the Foothills Trail in the Garden of the Gods: In August, a cyclist follows the new City Parks alignment, in which about 1,000 feet of the Garden segment north of Gateway Road has been relocated to higher ground. The trail was closed from May to August while the repair work was under way. The current asphalt surface is meant to be temporary.
Westside Pioneer photo
And the work there is not done. Fixes to lingering drainage problems are planned this year, a City Parks spokesperson said.
       13. Old Colorado City two-lane plan. A proposal to neck down Colorado Avenue to two lanes through Old Town has been blessed by City Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager. The restriping, which would include diagonal parking (either reverse or forward), is tentatively planned in 2016, but a public meeting will be held first, Krager said. The idea has been promoted by representatives of Old Colorado City businesses and property owners for nearly a decade as a way of slowing down avenue traffic and making the historic commercial center between 24th and 27th streets more of a destination than a pass-through.
       14. Bancroft Park improvements. The Old Colorado City Foundation (OCCF) continued its efforts to raise funds for improvements to benefit the historic shopping district. The first goal is new restrooms in the 1-acre city park at 24th Street and Colorado Avenue. A charitable offshoot of the Old Colorado City Associates business group, the OCCF has organized four large eat-and-drink fundraisers in Bancroft since 2013. The last of these was the third annual Taste of OCC in April. Despite constant rain, hundreds attended. The OCCF now has about $35,000 in the bank, according to its founder, Dave Van Ness, but with restroom costs estimated at $185,000, it is seeking increased City Parks cooperation.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 1/11/16; Community: Ongoing Issues)

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