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Looking across Colorado Avenue, this is the construction-impacted view north up Columbia Road and the entrance to the Garden of the Gods RV Resort at the intersection's northwest corner. The drawing below indicates how that is intended to change as the Westside Avenue Action Plan project moves forward.
Westside Pioneer photo

WAAP: Deal in place with RV park for property and easements around new bridge

April 14. 2018
       In a key step for the Westside Avenue Action Plan (WAAP) project, negotiations have been completed to buy a half-acre of land and four permanent easements from the 13-acre Garden of the Gods RV Resort.
       Owned by the national RVC Outdoor Destinations company (doing business as GOG RV, LLC), the resort is at the northwest corner of
A pre-project drawing shows the planned look of the Colorado Avenue/Columbia Road intersection. In contrast to its past appearance and functionality, there will be a stoplight and an entrance-only access to the Garden of the Gods RV Resort at the intersection's northwest corner (far right)
Courtesy of Westside Avenue Action Plan
Colorado Avenue and Columbia Road, just north of Fountain Creek.
       The $280,000 deal allows WAAP to keep building the avenue's new Adams Crossing Bridge over the creek and to implement project-related repairs and improvements on the site, including a new right-turn-only exit from the north side of the resort onto El Paso Boulevard.
       Started in December 2016, WAAP is a two-year, $35.5 million project by El Paso County, Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs to rebuild the nearly 1½-mile “no man's land” segment of Colorado/Manitou Avenue west of 31st Street.
       The bridge will cross Fountain Creek about 50 feet north of the old span when it opens to traffic this summer, which would otherwise put it on resort property. Temporary easements have allowed the work thus far.
       So the property and permanent easement purchases "are necessary" for the project, according to El Paso County Engineer Jennifer Irvine,
County Engineer Jennifer Irvine.
Courtesy of El Paso County
who presented the acquisition plan for approval at the April 11 meeting of the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) board of directors.“It's a big purchase because it's right at the bridge."
       There was no board dissent.
       Expressing support for the deal in a separate interview was Scott McConnaughey, general manager of the Garden of the Gods RV Resort (who noted he was not involved in the negotiations). Although the business has suffered from project-related traffic impacts and the temporary loss of six RV spaces, the end result will be positive, he believes. As outlined in Irvine's report to the RTA board, the lost spaces will be restored (there are 154 camping sites in all), electric lines will be relocated/upgraded as needed and the new El Paso exit will include the widening of an interior roadway.
       Adjacent to the resort property - and with the help of one of the easements - Columbia Road will be widened to allow an extra lane between Pikes Peak Avenue and Colorado (relocating and significantly altering the look of the traditional stone wall there). Also, the redesigned Columbia/Colorado intersection will have a stoplight to ease access through the business's main entrance at the northwest corner.
       Along with revamped landscaping and the reuse of stones from the old wall, “The whole area will look 100 percent better,” McConnaughey summarized. “It's going to be a nice job when it's done.”
       The El Paso exit became necessary because the Columbia/Colorado redesign prohibits vehicles from exiting the RV park at that point except
A drawing included in the documentation for the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority board of directors in April identifies the half-acre of land (the green areas) and four permanent easements in the Garden of the Gods RV Resort that are being purchased for the Westside Avenue Action Plan project.
Courtesy of El Paso County
during an emergency. The resort's only other way out is at Columbia and Pikes Peak, and the law mandates two exits, McConnaughey noted.
       The county is the government entity managing WAAP, which is why Irvine presented the acquisition, even though the parcel is in the City of Colorado Springs.
       Acquisition money is coming from the $1.3 million that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) provided as part of transferring avenue right of way responsibility to local entities (the county for now) as part of the WAAP effort.
       Typically in projects, government agencies complete most or all of their property purchases before work begins. But with WAAP, as Irvine has previously explained, easements (temporary as well as permanent) and/or acquisitions were needed from more than 85 of the 110 properties along the project corridor. Knowing that, and worried about construction costs rising, the WAAP governments decided to start work and manage the acquisition efforts in tandem. So far, according to project manager Dennis Barron, that strategy has not caused serious project delays.
       The WAAP budget recently rose from $30.9 million to $35.5 million, as discussed in a Westside Pioneer article at this link.

Westside Pioneer article
(Projects: Westside Avenue Action Plan)

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