EDITOR’S DESK: Roundhouse redevelopment intriguing
Well, this is kind of exciting. The plans have just been submitted to the city, but at first blush the proposal to redevelop the historic Midland roundhouse and
surrounding acreage into a shopping center seems like a promising upgrade. The property's casually rural aspect (trying to be nice here) once fit right in with the
Westside look and feel, but over the years most of the properties around it have gotten “citified” with sidewalks and even a little landscaping; plus, from a driving
standpoint, with the increased traffic it's a leap of faith anymore to make a left turn from Van Briggle onto northbound 21st Street. So the whole access re-do, with
Bott Avenue becoming the main place to get in and out, seems like an idea whose time has come.
What's especially encouraging is the prospect that the roundhouse will be given a new chance to shine. It was once the focal point for the Midland trains; now it can become a beacon of historic pride in a high-visibility shopping center that will hopefully complement Old Colorado City nearby. Sure, it's possible that Old Town will lose some sales as a result of the similar-style competition, but the flip side is that more motorists will at least stop on the Westside instead of blasting up Ute Pass or down to I-25.
Another "hopefully": that the development-related visibility concerns for the neighboring Ghost Town tourist attraction will be resolved amicably. The odds are that they will be. In probably the most stable location on the Westside, both Ghost Town and Van Briggle Pottery have been neighbors since the early 1950s.
Finally, it's upbeat to hear from Van Briggle co-owner Craig Stevenson that even though the longtime enterprise (started by world-famous potter Artus Van Briggle and his wife Anne) won't be part of the redevelopment, it will still be making pottery somewhere. A good story, all in all.