Westside paving jobs start; meeting set Sept. 5

       Overlay work on Colorado Avenue and Old Colorado City's parking lots began last week and will continue until probably the third week in September, city officials say.
       Brainstorming by city staff and merchants have produced a partial schedule that averts the feared conflict between the two projects.
       The rest of the schedule, as well as the timing of avenue paving through Old Colorado City, is to be worked out at a public meeting Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 6 p.m.
       Business people and citizens in general are invited to the gathering, which will follow the previously scheduled Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District Advisory Board meeting in the upstairs room at Pikes Peak National Bank, 2401 W. Colorado Ave.
       “We'll talk about when is the best time of day or what days,” said Carrie McCausland of City Public Communications. “We have to keep drivers' needs in mind, but we have other options we can consider.”
       One option that's not likely to happen is night work. “Residents live too close,” McCausland said.
       As for weekend work, a decision was made at the outset not to do that because of the impact on avenue merchants' busiest days of the week.
       The avenue area to be discussed at the meeting is between 24th and 30th streets, which includes Old Colorado City. Under the partial schedule for the city paving project, that's called “Area 3.”
       Area 1 is Walnut to 15th Street. Milling began there this week and is expected to continue through Thursday, Aug. 30. Weather permitting, paving will start on that section after Labor Day and continue through Sept. 6.
       Area 2 is 15th to 24th streets. Milling is scheduled to start there Tuesday, Sept. 4 and be finished Sept. 10, with paving to begin Sept. 7 and be complete by the 11th.
       Work times for Areas 1 and 2 are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekdays only.
       The Area 3 time frame would either begin after Area 2's or slightly overlap it. The anticipated work there will involve four days of milling and three days of paving, McCausland said.
       After the initial announcement of the Old Colorado City and evenue projects - each planned by a different branch of the city - some retailers feared nightmare scenarios in which simultaneous paving projects would eliminate parking in the Old Town lots and on the avenue. This possibility was averted by a plan to take care of the parking lot work before Area 3 got going.
       That appeared certain this week. Two of the three lots were paved and striped at press time Aug. 29. Some work remained on the biggest lot (north of the shops in the 2500 block), but City Parking Administrator Greg Warnke said that even though the workload there turned out “a little bit bigger than we thought it would be,” it too would be paved and striped by the weekend.
       Old Colorado City will even get a little bonus out of the dual projects. According to Warnke, the short stretch of 26th Street between the avenue and the 2500 block parking lot will also be paved, avoiding an otherwise noticeable overlay gap.
       Judy Kasten and Nancy Stovall, two Old Colorado City business owners who have worked with the city on the paving planning, expressed satisfaction at the efforts so far.
       “Halleleujah,” exulted Kasten, the chair of the Maintenance District board. Although some project conveniences are unavoidable, she praised the city staff for being “so accomodating,” and said the end result will mean “we can go into this winter looking good. Nothing like a facelift before the Christmas holidays.”
       The only downside, she said, is the city ordinance requiring signs to go up 72 hours before parking will be temporarily eliminated, announcing that fact. This could discourage some shoppers who don't read the signs' fine print, some merchants fear.
       Stovall, the coordinator for the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group, thought it was considerate of the city staffers “to bring all their people out here to meet with the merchants (Sept. 5). That's something we've never had before.”
       For the avenue, this is the first overlay in six years. For the Old Town lots, it's the first overlay since they were created in 1979 as part of the revitalization of Old Colorado City and formation of the Maintenance District.

Westside Pioneer article