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Pioneer's picks for top 20 Westside stories of 2014 - 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 mentions) at this link.

       8. Goodwill's new 2300 block plan - A year after an unsuccessful attempt to sell its two-acre property on the south side of West Colorado Avenue's 2300 block to Kum & Go (see #7 above), the nonprofit agency has taken the site off the market. The new plan for Goodwill (or Discover Goodwill, as it has rebranded itself) is to expand its vehicle-repair facility there and contract with other entities to service
The four-bay garage for Discover Goodwill's fleet maintenance facility is seen off the alley going west from 23rd Street. As the sign shows, the alley also allows access for citizens wanting to drop materials off at Goodwill's attended donation center.
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their fleet vehicles. The hoped-for result is an enterprise that will pay for itself while fulfilling Goodwill's mission of providing work opportunities for the disabled and disadvantaged, a company official explained. Also remaining on the south side of the block is the attended donations center, which is open to the public for drop-offs. Goodwill had owned the bulk of the avenue's 2300 block (both sides of the street) next to Old Colorado City for over half a century before moving its headquarters to Garden of the Gods Road in 2012. Junior Achievement has since bought most of the north-side holdings - except the Goodwill retail store, which continues to operate at Colorado and 23rd.
       9. Sentinel Ridge/ Mainstreet - In 2009, the Sunrise Company planned to build 88 homes on 45 acres southeast of Fillmore Street and Mesa Road as phase 1 of what was intended to be a four-phase homebuilding plan on 134 acres. But the bottom fell out of the housing market nationwide, and the land remained fallow. In 2014, Sunrise was back with a new plan for the “phase 1” area (although not yet
In a photo from mid-December, equipment from Bradley Excavating shapes the 7.6-acre property south of Fillmore Street that will eventually become a facility providing transitional care and assisted living. Photo looks east. In the background are existing homes off Grand Vista Circle. Access to the facility will be from Grand Vista. The opening is expected in January 2016.
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talking about any follow-up phases). The new plan calls for mixed uses on the 45 acres: homes, a church, a rehab/assisted care facility and 15 acres of open space. With smaller lots and attached housing (unlike the former plan) more than twice as many homes could be built. Development started on the care facility in late 2014. The property covers 7.6 acres along Fillmore Street at Grand Vista Drive, with a 2016 opening anticipated. There was one controversy as Sentinel Ridge went through the city approval process. Culminating at City Council, the disagreement involved the 8-acre church site at Fillmore and Mesa. First Evangelical Free Church, on the Westside since the mid-'50s, hopes to buy the parcel and relocate there some day. The Sunrise- proposed zoning would have allowed other low-impact uses, giving the church more selling flexibility if its relocation fell through, but councilagreed with Mesa Road residents - worried about excess traffic - to limit the zoning there to allow a church only.
       10. Calvary Worship Center expansion plan - A land-use appeal that has raised the suggestion of city religious discrimination will go before City Council Jan. 27. At issue is the proposed major expansion by the church, located off King Street east of 30th. Despite a city staff recommendation that the project would meet city neighborhood goals for infill and redevelopment, the Planning Commission voted
A view east from the existing Calvary Worship Center parking lot shows Willamette Avenue, the hillside just north of it and the residential enclave at the top of the hill near King Street. Most of Calvary's proposed new parking area would be on the north side of Willamette, at the base of the hill, with retaining walls to support it in front and back.
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in October against Calvary's proposal. The three-phase plan over five years calls for two building demolitions along with two additions totaling about 70,000 square feet and the creation of about 150 new parking spaces. The commission sided with neighbors who argued that it would be too intrusive, cause traffic and parking problems and possibly even disturb a hillside with a history of sloughing. After the 7-0 vote, Calvary Senior Pastor Al Pittman submitted a six-page appeal alleging that the commission decision did not stick to facts, and even reflected “disparate treatment of the church based on its proposed religious uses of the property.” Because of the rezoning request involved, council has final say on the matter … unless it winds up in a courtroom.
       11. Stage 4 - About 130 top cyclists from America and other countries competed in the fourth annual, week-long, seven-stage U.S. Pro Challenge. Stage 4 Aug. 21 was in Colorado Springs and featured four 16-mile loops of the downtown and Westside, including segments through Old Colorado City, the Garden of the Gods and a few Westside neighborhoods. The event was lauded as an economic boon for the city, although the race blocked nearly all traffic through the Westside for about four hours. A unique aspect of Stage 4 was a one-man breakaway in the last third of its 70 miles by 42-year-old German cyclist Jens Voigt,
Colorado Springs has been a host city for three of the four annual USA Pro Challenge international cycling races. Each time the Garden of the Gods has been featured. In the Stage 4 event Aug. 21, the peloton (the main group of riders), which at the time (midway through the race) was trailing a breakaway group, rolls out of the Garden, east on Gateway Road toward 30th Street. The route went left from there to Mesa Road. The jersey colors/styles represent the different teams (16 in all), each with eight riders.
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who had announced that 2014 was his last year of racing. He held onto his solo lead until about a half a mile from the downtown finish line, when the peleton finally caught up and he was passed by a flurry of sprinters. Elia Viviani put on a final burst with about 200 meters left to claim the Stage 4 victory. The Pro Challenge was ultimately won for the second straight year by American cyclist Tejay Van Garderen.
       12. Silver Key to relocate - After starting in the downtown area in 1971, Silver Key Senior Services has been headquartered on the Westside, at 2250 Bott Ave., since 1978. The nonprofit agency helps the region's needy people age 60 and over with transportation, meals and other services. But in 2016, Silver Key plans to move to another part of town. Pending a closing that's scheduled in March, the site will be the Airport Square property on South Murray Boulevard, in southeast Colorado Springs. The purchase price is expected to be more than $1 million. According to Lorri Orwig, Silver Key's chief development officer, the move- in date will be no sooner than “early 2016.” As part of that, the agency will embark on a fundraising campaign for renovations at the Murray site. A feasibility study determined that $4.5 to $6 million could be raised through fundraising, she said. Earlier in the year, Silver Key had made an offer, accepted by District 11, to buy the former (now vacant) Bates Elementary School. Orwig said the agency was forced to back out after determining that the property's renovation cost “would have significantly exceeded” what could be fundraised. In relocating, Silver Key's goal is to be more centralized in a larger building - one that's in better shape than the Bott building - on a site that has room for expansion, Orwig explained.
       13. Flood-prevention work - Camp Creek and the two Douglas creeks, three principal drainages through the Westside, suffered flooding damage after the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire. In response, the city began an in-depth study of Camp Creek's needs (see number 5 in Westside Stories of the Year 1-7). In the meantime, the city made emergency repairs in all three drainages. There were two on Camp Creek. One project, costing $200,000, built a roughly 4-acre sediment basin at the north end of the Garden of the Gods. The basin will work in conjunction with a future, larger detention pond in that area, planned as part of the Camp Creek study. The other Camp Creek project in 2014 paid a contractor $350,000 to repair broken concrete in the Pleasant Valley ditch. Both Douglas Creeks start in the hilly areas north and west of Garden of the Gods
The rain and flooding of summer 2013 washed out the crossing over Bear Creek from Eighth Street into Bear Creek Regional Park. It was one of several carry-over flood issues in the park that El Paso County began addressing with federal funding help in 2014.
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Road, but cross under it in concrete-lined ditches as they drain southeast toward Monument Creek. The city spent $5.1 million in 2014 on both drainages, repairing concrete bottoms, building/maintaining sediment catchment basins, planting grasses and bushes upstream to offset burn-area vegetation loss, cutting down trees in drainages and installing creek-monitoring cameras. Other area flood- damage efforts have been in BearCreek Regional Park, where El Paso County Parks is doing work on and around various trails and roads, at a total cost of about $350,000.
       14. Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center - A major renovation/expansion project that curtailed interior space, programs and business hours throughout 2014 is nearing the finish line. The improvements are due for completion May 15, in time for a planned celebration of the 20-year anniversary of the non-profit facility, which faces toward the Garden at 1805 N. 30th St. The upgrades affect nearly all parts of the two-story building, including a broader stairwell (from 4 ½ to 7 feet wide), consolidation of the two gift shops, the theater's relocation from the second floor to the first and an addition near the old north door that will allow more exhibit space. The contractor is Art Klein Construction, which built the center new in 1995. The center is owned and operated by the Garden of the Gods Foundation, a nonprofit entity that donates a percentage of its customer revenues to maintenance of the park. The anniversary improvements are being funded through a private donation.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 1/18/15; Community: Ongoing Issues)

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