CDOT open to ‘welcome’ sign at overpass

       Colorado Avenue motorists driving west under the future I-25 overpass could see a landscaped sign that tells them they are on their way to the Westside and/or Old Colorado City.
       Representatives of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) showed interest in the idea at a meeting of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) Feb. 23.
       Pushing the idea hardest - based on Colorado Avenue's significance as an “important entryway” from the downtown - was OWN Treasurer and longtime Westside civic leader Dave Hughes. “You've got every sign under the sun,” he told Dave Poling, George Hayward, Robert Burch and Bill Badger of CDOT, “but Old Colorado City doesn't exist.”
       OWN board members did not reach a consensus on details, such as the sign's size, shape and wording.
       Poling noted that citizens in the past have asked that the state do what it could “to not make I-25 a divider of the community.”
       He did not ask OWN for a speedy consensus at the meeting, but in Westside Pioneer follow-ups, time emerged as a factor. COSMIX work on the new Colorado Avenue overpass is to start in late May, so any plan changes need to be finalized as soon as possible, Hayward told the Pioneer. He said he hoped OWN could reach a basic consensus within two weeks. The OWN board now plans to discuss the matter at the next town meeting Thursday, March 9, Vice President Welling Clark said this week. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the West Intergenera-tional Center, 25 N. 20th St.
       “If it's just an aesthetic treatment, not a structural change, we have a little wiggle room (on time),” Hayward said. “But we definitely need to close the loop on this in a pretty fast process.”
       Presented with CDOT's preliminary Colorado Avenue overpass rendering (which Hughes called “dullsville”), OWN board members at the Feb. 23 meeting also offered general suggestions for landscaping and aesthetic touches, but nothing specific.
       Another issue to be resolved in the sign matter is cost. The CDOT representatives indicated that the state might be able to help with the expense (as it did a couple of years ago on a localized sign at the Monument exit from I-25). However, it is not known where the Westside share might come from. A city-recognized Westside volunteer advocacy group, OWN uses nearly all of its annual city stipend (less than $10,000) to publish and mail a quarterly newsletter.
       A similar sort of signage effort, which is being pushed by Colorado Springs downtown merchants, calls for a landscaped sign facing eastbound traffic on the west side of the Bijou Street bridge. Some space is available there on the corner, now owned by CDOT, where a rental-car business used to be. According to Jerry Banks, city engineering programs manager and liaison to COSMIX, the sign “would let people know the downtown is on the other side.”
       Details and cost arrangements for that proposal are being “actively discussed” between the Downtown Partnership (merchants group) and COSMIX engineers, he said. The partnership is also talking with engineers about other aesthetic touches on and near the Bijou bridge, including lighting and landscaping.

Westside Pioneer article