Westside NSA has $231,000 in CDBG improvements fund for ‘07

       The city has $231,000 it's ready to spend on sidewalk, curb and gutter and possibly other older Westside infrastructure needs, starting in April.
       The next step is figuring out what to spend it on.
       “I need to really talk to the Westside folks and see what they have in mind,” said city official Don Sides, who was recently reassigned to head up the capital improvements portion of the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. CDBG money goes to city-defined Neighborhood Strategy Areas (NSAs) that need revitalization boosts; the older Westside is one of these.
       Sides had managed the CDBG improvements for 10 years before being put on another city project in 2004. Brad Lovell oversaw the program the past two years before leaving the city last fall.
       Before departing, Lovell followed through on the work he had told Westsiders would be accomplished in 2006. This involved filling in missing sidewalk and pedestrian ramps along both Kiowa Street (between Limit and 33rd streets) and Pikes Peak Avenue between the 3200 and 3400 blocks, according to Sides.
       The project cost about $178,000, but left $81,000 carryover, he said. The $231,000 for this year is derived by combining the carryover with this year's CDBG stipend of $150,000.
       Although interested in neighborhood input, Sides said that one area engineers are looking at is Pikes Peak Avenue from 26th to 28th streets. “It needs some sidewalks and pedestrian ramps,” he said.
       The personnel change from Lovell back to Sides was not quite seamless, from a public relations standpoint. Even this week, someone calling Lovell's old city phone number got an answering machine with his recorded voice offering to take a message.
       It wasn't until the Pioneer phoned Sides this month to see if he knew why Lovell wasn't returning calls that the situation became clear.
       Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) President Welling Clark, representing the older Westside NSA, was among those who had been leaving messages on Lovell's machine, he said. Another puzzled Westside leader was George Gravenstein, president of the Mesa Springs Community Association, which also represents an NSA. “Brad had always been real good about returning my phone calls,” he commented.
       Both Clark and Gravenstein said they now plan to call Sides and set up citizen meetings to discuss CDBG work in their areas.
       “I'm sorry you didn't know (about the change),” Sides told the Pioneer. “We had some transition in our division.”

Westside Pioneer article