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Groundbreaking Dec. 12 for major project to upgrade 'former' No Man's Land

      
A photo shot in 1913, looking west, shows a footrace about to start on what engineers now call the "slip ramp" off westsbound Colorado Avenue coming up to Columbia Road. The Adams Crossing Grocery at right is on the same site as the medical marijuana store today. The store took its name from prominent citizen Charles Adams, who had lived nearby until his death in 1895. The then-streetcar line can be seen in the roadbed. The line continued west from there along the north side of Fountain Creek, and in current times its right of way west of Columbia is used by the Midland Trail.
Courtesy of Old Colorado City Historical Society
It was “once known as No Man's Land,” a press release says of the groundbreaking ceremony scheduled Monday, Dec. 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the major new project on Colorado Avenue west of 31st Street.
       The release offers no new name for the long-neglected area that includes properties in Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and El Paso County, but the location of the ceremony is one that old-timers - and even government documents - for decades called Adams Crossing.
       Thanks to the efforts of local historians, that traditional name is being given to the new avenue bridge that will be built as part of the project to replace the current span over Fountain Creek at Columbia Road.
       Perhaps sensing what's “in the wind,” a medical marijuana dispensary at the intersection has already changed its name to Adams Crossing. The spot had a grocery by that name over 100 years ago, a photo shows (see above).
       The groundbreaking has not been advertised as open to the public, but it's a cinch no one will be turned away from the celebratory event. It will feature elected officials and high-level staffers from the three governments that partnered to make the $30.9 million project possible - Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and El Paso County - along with the Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado Springs Utilities.
       Envisioned over the past decade and formalized through a contracted study/design effort since 2012 called the Westside Avenue Action Plan (WAAP), the project will upgrade a roughly 1.5-mile segment of Colorado/Manitou Avenue from 31st Street to just east of Manitou's Highway 24 interchange. Coordinated by County Engineering, the work is to include storm sewers, underground utilities, intersection improvements, sidewalks, a trail extension and a new traffic bridge over Fountain Creek at Columbia Road.
       Other than the Springs Utilities work, the voter-approved project is funded through the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, which citizens support through its 1-cent sales tax. Wildcat Construction has been hired as the contractor.
       Preliminary work, mainly related to utilities, is to get started this winter, according to county information, and the schedule shows construction continuing through 2018.
       “The project brings much needed infrastructure improvements addressing safety and efficient travel along this vital corridor,” the press release states. “These improvements will set the stage for economic revitalization and other future corridor enhancements and positively contribute to the region's economic vitality.”
       The name, Adams Crossing, was related as much to the man - a Civil War veteran, local business leader and internationally known diplomat named Charles Adams - as to the geographical location where he made his home. His house, located in what's now the Garden of the Gods RV Resort northwest of Columbia and Colorado, sat next to a traffic bridge over the creek, plus criss-crossing streetcar and railroad lines. The latter two are gone, but the project will add a trail crossing (under the road at the bridge). More historical details can be found at this link.
       To replace the No Man's Land label, other names have been suggested for the project area (other than Adams Crossing), such as "Gateway" or "Upper Westside," in an attempt to reflect the proximity to Ute Pass and a location roughly halfway between Manitou and Old Colorado City.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 12/5/16; Projects: No Man's Land)

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