Colorado Springs leaders convene for Gold Hill police substation groundbreaking

       Civic leaders broke ground for the City Police Department's new Gold Hill Division substation on the Westside March 28.
       Mayor Lionel Rivera and Police Chief Lou Velez were joined in the ceremony by City Council members Scott Hente, Margaret Radford and Darryl Glenn before a gathering of close to 75 people at the 955 Moreno Ave. site, about a quarter-mile west of Eighth Street. The treeless 5.1-acre property had been lightly graded in preparation for the ceremony.
       Rivera talked about the importance of the Public Safety Sales Tax (PSST), approved by voters in 2001, noting that the substation is the latest of 12 city police or fire facilities that have been or are being built - as promised by city officials - with the .04-percent tax. The anticipated Gold Hill cost is more than $6 million.
       City Council member Scott Hente said the building is a valid response to a need on the Westside. “You think of growth as occurring to the north and east,” he said. “But there's a lot of infill taking place on this side.” As a major example, he mentioned the Gold Hill Mesa subdivision - projected to eventually have more than 1,000 residences - which is in the grading stages less than a mile west of the future station.
       With police officials still reviewing contractors' bids (the bid-opening date was March 24), actual construction on the substation is not anticipated to start until April at the earliest, according to Jerry Bentrott, director of management services for the Colorado Springs Police Department. The city hope is to have the building ready by the end of this year, which would allow between 100 and 150 people assigned to the Gold Hill Division to move from the Police Operations Center (POC) in the south downtown area to the new substation. Police had a Westside substation previously (until 1993), but the old one was not intended for community involvement like this one, Bentrott has pointed out.
       In addition to the Westside, the substation's coverage area goes east to Union Boulevard, north to Fillmore Street, south to the Broadmoor and west to Manitou Springs.
       “This is big news for the Westside,” County Commissioner Sallie Clark, a Westsider whose district includes the Gold Hill area, said after the groundbreaking. “It will certainly have an impact on crime issues and be a deterrent in itself.”
       The substation's proximity will offer conveniences to Westsiders, including a community room that can be used for public meetings and an around-the-clock front desk where people can file reports.
       City Council member Margaret Radford, in her comments, said that Westside volunteers ought to especially appreciate the community room. She added the thought that the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) advocacy group might want to start meeting there.
       Of the new substation, Velez told the assembled crowd, “We hope it will make the citizens of the Westside as safe as they ever have been.”

Westside Pioneer article