Staffers, citizens have amiable dialogue at first ‘Action Team’ public meeting

       About 30 citizens came in from temperatures in the teens Jan. 17 to attend the first meeting in recent years in which a range of city staffers have gone out to talk with citizens at a Westside location.
       On hand at the Gold Hill Police Substation were representatives from nine city departments or divisions, plus two closely related entities (Colorado Springs Utilities and Mountain Metro Transit).
       No blockbuster revelations resulted from the gathering, but those present were introduced to new City Manager Penelope Culbreth-Graft, had the chance to give input (consensus in favor) to a City Police proposal to tighten enforcement of excessive false alarms, heard an update on the Stormwater Enterprise (a “do-it-yourself” tour of major drainage problem areas will be scheduled this spring), got clarification on concerns (including one about green time for traffic at Uintah Street and Mesa Road), and were promised answers to questions (such as a request for yield signs in the Friendship Lane neighborhood and another who wondered what's happened with past City Traffic Engineering talk about eventually completing Pecan Street between Lower Gold Camp Road and Broadway Street).
       The longest discussion concerned snow removal. Ken Winckler of City Streets described efforts to be more efficient in snow removal during the second straight winter of higher-than-normal snowfall. Individual responses are now handled within specific geographic quadrants, each with four grids. In the past, trucks went out to all parts of the town “like a shotgun blast” to answer such calls for removal he said.
       As for ice on the roads, Winckler said that for the most part nothing much can be done until temperatures rise. Cutting at the ice with graders can ruin pavement, and a liquid chemical that breaks up ice only works above 22 degrees, he said.
       Winckler also warned that this type of winter will probably lead to numerous potholes, like last year.
       One of the citizens on hand drew some laughs by responding that such a condition wasn't so bad: “It slows those speeders down.”
       Graft said she was happy to be in Colorado Springs, but admitted being a little taken aback by the cold spell. (Note: The new city manager, who most recently worked in California, was wearing a long red coat while she spoke.)
       She added that she was open to suggestions from citizens, adding that if anyone sees her and has a concern to “pull on my skirt and I'll try to answer your question.”
       Held at the Gold Hill Police substation, the meeting was advertised as being open to residents of the Gold Hill coverage area, which covers basically the southwest part of the city, including the Westside north to Uintah and Fillmore streets.
       The city departments/ divisions were Police, Code Enforcement, Traffic Engi-neering, Parks, Planning, Fire, City Manager's Office, Streets and Public Communications.

Westside Pioneer article