EDITORíS DESK: It doesnít need to be a battle

       Kristine Van Wert, who is a tireless voice for Westside homeowners, offered an interesting philosophical point this week. A brief backdrop would probably be helpful. She was speaking during a Westside meeting April 25 that had been called to address the impacts of Old Colorado City's special events on the surrounding neighborhoods.
       Kristine began framing her point with the observation that in years past the older-Westside neighborhoods had low property values. I don't agree with her side comment that it was "skid row" back then, but as that's only tangential to her main point, we'll let it pass for now. The thing she was getting at was this: Because residential property values have zoomed upwards in recent years, homeowners have more power than before. And with that power, they can start battling the local commercial interests for control of the area.
       The immediate battleground where this precept is being tested is the special events issue - particularly Territory Days. When living legend Dave Hughes started the blooming thing (in partnership with Kit Carson and Wild Bill Hickock, I believe) the idea of it becoming a financial windfall for the merchants was never considered. But as the event has grown, and sponsorships have developed, the annual three-day shindig has turned into an income source that the merchants can tap all year to market their area to the world. Has the event grown too big? Quite possibly. Should residents get help? Definitely. But where I part ways with Kristine and her supporters is the us-versus-them aspect. Imagine if the Old Colorado City shopping district died, or at least declined to where it was before Dave waved his magic wand 30 years ago. Don't laugh. It's not as if all, or even close to all, the merchants are thriving now. Do you think in such a case that residential property values would remain high? Would the area even retain its charm? Or would it just devolve to sterile rows of overpriced Victorians, with owners calling for code enforcement if someone paints their porch a funny color? It simple enough to me: Residential needs commercial, and vice versa. Can't we all just get along?

- K.J.