Public meeting in Manitou on study to identify upgrades in ‘tourism corridor’

       Citizen ideas for fixing a portion of what's sometimes called the “tourism corridor” (between Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs) will be sought at a community open house Tuesday, Sept. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m.
       The location will be Memorial Hall in the Manitou Springs City Hall building, 606 Manitou Ave.
       The gathering will be hosted by a consultant team headed by Felsburg Holt & Ullevig (FHU), which recently began a study titled the Westside Avenue Action Plan.
       “The open house provides community members a chance to meet project team members, learn first-hand about this transportation infrastructure study and provide valuable input,” an FHU press release states, adding that the goal is “long-term economic revitalization for the corridor.”
       FHU was given a $300,000 contract last April. The study area - also known as “No Man's Land” because of civic neglect in recent years - takes in Colorado/ Manitou Avenue from 31st Street to Manitou's High-way 24 interchange. Funded by a Colorado Department of Transportation grant, the contract was awarded by El Paso County, but Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs are also involved in the effort.
       Consultants are especially hoping to hear from residents and business people in that area to get their ideas on road layouts and priorities, according to FHU spokesperson Lisa Bachman in a recent interview
       According to the press release, the Westside Avenue Action Plan seeks to “provide for safe and efficient transportation along the corridor, create a compatible link between the two vibrant historic districts of Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs and serve as a catalyst for economic development and other future corridor improvements.”
       The study is planned to continue until next spring.
       After that, government funding is anticipated for design work in the region's Transportation Improve-ment Plan and, between them, El Paso County and Colorado Springs have earmarked about $12 million from Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) funds, assuming the 1-percent sales tax is approved by voters in November.
       For more information, call 629-7566, go to westsideavenueplan.com or e-mail info@westsideavenueplan.com.

Westside Pioneer/press release