EDITORíS DESK: Pumping out the history
I keep coming back to the pumps.
In private discussions with local business leaders and city officials, Kum & Go representatives seem to have left an impression of professionalism, sincerity and community spirit. They've told those people they're willing to build a store that's compatible with local historic styles and to listen to local wishes. Their preliminary artist renderings show a possible brick facade and styling that isn't too hard on the eyes.
The only catch is that in front of that pretty brick building would be 10 gas pumps. Are they going to put brick on them too?
I don't mean to sit here and try to debunk this project before Kum & Go has even had a chance to make a presentation at a public meeting. It's only fair to listen to them at the public meeting that's been scheduled June 27.
But there's a question I'd like to ask them: Why would the owners of a national convenience-store chain believe they need to put one of their stores smack-dab beside one of the few well-preserved American West downtowns? OK, I can see it from an economic standpoint. Old Colorado City is a gathering place for people in general and, in the summer, tourists wanting to fill up their rigs so they can get on down the road. Fine, but why not dig deeper, look for commercial or residential uses in the 2300 block of the avenue that expand on our marvelous local history, rather than potentially detract from it? Isn't that perhaps a more enduring economic standpoint?
Remember the meeting called by Goodwill in October 2011, seeking citizen suggestions as to future uses after the property was sold? As might be expected, nobody stood up and said, "Let's put a gas station there." Only by contorted logic can Goodwill see a 10-pump gas station as a good fit. Is the nonprofit agency getting desperate to sell?
It's true we have a Diamond Shamrock at the other end of Old Town. But a station's been there since 1931, before anyone even thought of this part of the world as a historic gem. Nor is it as if we lack stores to buy gas on the Westside. Places like that come and go (pun sort of intended). But history? It only goes.