EDITOR’S DESK: Life in No Man’s Land
I can't recall who came up with the term, “no man's land,” to describe the 1 1/2-mile segment of West Colorado Avenue
going up past Red Rock shopping center and into Manitou Springs.
But it sure fits.
"The Land that Time Forgot" might not be far off, either. What's really remarkable is that this area sits astride a state highway (Business 24). It wouldn't be a big surprise to find such government infrastructure neglect in some tucked-away neighborhood, but this has been going on for years right in front of everybody's eyes.
Would it have happened if just one government entity controlled that area, instead of three? A person can only speculate, but it certainly does seem like bureaucracy cubed. For several blocks, the county has one side of the avenue and the city has the other, with Manitou just a hop and skip up the road. On top of that, the area has given no symbolic reasons for politicians to take action - no spike in crime, no pedestrians clobbered. It's even true that many small, private properties there have been upgraded, without help from Big Brother.
The Manitou Springs Economic Development Council, to its credit, has recently broken the logjam by moving forward on a grant request to analyze the problem. But therein lies another problem. To get the grant, the EDC has to show blight exists. Grant proponents are careful to say they're only identifying the government-related blight, but not too far between the lines is the message that maybe the end result will be a Colorado Avenue that looks a lot different than it does today, in terms of the kinds of businesses and their property values. Well, OK, higher property values are nice. But what about those who live and work there now? Isn't a community measured by more than cost per square foot? It would be worth considering such questions before it's too late and No Man's Land has become Someone Else's land.