EDITOR'S DESK: Looking for the green(way)
“If I believed in conspiracy theories, I'd...” This is a prelude to a sentence sometimes heard from political types. It's their way of saying they think something is being
cooked up but they prefer to remain level-headed to keep their sanity and avoid spiraling into the kind of kookiness that to this day has some people still looking for a
Kennedy-assassination shooter on the grassy knoll.
Meanwhile, here we sit, semi-numb after yet another open house on Westside Highway 24 (making it possibly the Guiness record holder for the most studied 4 1/2 miles in the world). And another phrase comes to mind: Deus ex machina. It's a Greek term describing a circumstance that pops out of seemingly nowhere to make things work out. As a current example, we have Manitou Springs, which in the past year had created an urban renewal authority to address "blight" in its part of the so-called "no man's land" along Manitou/Colorado Avenue. The drawback at the time was the city's reluctance to use the authority's eminent domain powers and the likely snail's pace to acquire through "normal" means enough land to make redevelopment worthwhile (even for a developer eager for urban renewal tax benefits).
Then what should appear but the Highway 24 greenway. And suddenly the Manitoids can start thinking big (they already were at the open house). Relocate the road? Relocate the creek? Lose all the old motels? (Well, maybe not all. We understand there's at least one with historic significance.)
In fairness, it should be noted that Manitou officials urged the expansion of the greenway study that is now making their "deus" possible. Meanwhile, Old Colorado City, which risks losing sales to this newly envisioned Manitou retail area, was scarcely represented at the open house, even though it was right in Bancroft Park. Say what you will about the greenway, but it's clear who's looking to take advantage of it and who isn't. No conspiracy needed.