EDITOR’S DESK: Kum & Go – is the fix in?
What an unfortunate mess this Kum & Go on West Colorado Avenue is turning into.
In one corner, we have Kum & Go itself, which prides itself on quality and community involvement. But it also wants "to become the number one convenience retailer in the U.S. by 2021," its website states. Already, since 2012, it's opened 10 stores in Colorado Springs. So we can only guess at the pressure emanating from its Iowa board rooms. Do you think the Big Bosses want to hear from this region's representatives that they withdrew a store plan in little Old Colorado City just because some malcontent citizens didn't think it was historically compatible? I personally saw the other side of the company's gleaming smile. Approaching chief spokesperson Kolby Jones after the neighborhood meeting June 27, I was told that further media questions must go to the Kum & Go public relations office. "So the meeting is over?" I asked Jones. "The meeting is over," he said.
Then we have Goodwill, claiming it's too poor to wait for an offer that matches community wishes for the site and justifying its actions because it's a nonprofit that helps so many disadvantaged people. OK, it can be argued that Goodwill needed that newer, bigger facility on Garden of the Gods Road. And its leaders did apologize to citizens at the meeting. But honestly, after 50 years on the Westside, that's it? They balance their bankbook and say good-bye, while putting at risk one of the few preserved Old West downtowns and demoralizing nearby residents who've endured their 2300 block traffic and noise and for a while had reason to believe things would finally get better.
The big mystery, though, is the city. We know that Goodwill is a favored entity among city leaders. Remember, El Pomar technically bought its new building and is actually Goodwill's landlord. Who wants to be the renegade official who advocates an action that would cause such a worthy nonprofit to financially flounder?
Kum & Go has offered to work with locals to make its plan blend in somehow. Dave Hughes, our local hero, thinks the store can be revised into a "historic attraction." Really, Dave? Did they have gas pumps in 1859?