Neighbors since ‘58...
... I-25 won’t have room for liquor store after widening

       They were both new in 1958 - the liquor store and the interstate almost directly above.
        Now there's only room for one, and guess which one will have to go?
       Mike Morrissey, owner of Drive-In Liquors at 404 W. Colorado Ave., figures he has three to five years before the planned I- 25 widening forces him to move.
       Nothing's official yet - the state can't start offering relocation money to businesses it will displace until the federal government gives final I-25 plan approval - but state transportation officials have talked to him and he knows his store is on the list.
       “This is probably one of the third or fourth oldest liquor stores in Colorado Springs,” said Morrissey, whose purchase of the business from his father-in-law in 1992 meant the store has been in the same family since 1972. “I've had customers say I should fight it.”
       His hope is to relocate somewhere in the same Near Westside area. “We're established here,” he said. “I know the people, I know the families, I know the businesses.”
       It's not as if the current location is perfect. The place has been robbed at gunpoint twice in the past seven years. And construction a few years ago on the Colorado Avenue bridge cut into his business for many months.
        There's also the annoying habit of the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT) snowplows. When they get going too fast on the interstate above, “they pepper me with pebbles,” he said. The flying gravel has knocked out bulbs on the neon signs in front of his store.
       Nevertheless, Morrissey can't help feeling irked that his business wound up on the CDOT chopping block, while several government buildings nearby on Spruce Street did not.
       That wasn't a case of government looking out for itself, according to James Flohr, a resident engineer for CDOT. The main reason, he told the Westside Pioneer, was the value of the properties. One of them houses the Veterans Administration building, worth $30 million. Because CDOT has to reimburse relocated businesses and residences, the liquor store was a more affordable displacement target, Flohr explained.
       But he said that wherever possible the state has tried to avoid the necessity of acquisitions. For instance, earlier plans called for more home relocations than the five proposed in the widening plan's Environmental Assessment (EA).
        Complicating matters in the area of Bijou/Cimarron is that just east of the interstate at that point are Fountain Creek, the railroad and Monument Creek. So any widening has to be to the west.
       In addition to Drive-In Liquors, more than two dozen acquisitions - total or partial - are proposed west of I-25 near the Bijou, Cimarron and Fillmore interchanges .
       The EA does not state the names or addresses of homes and businesses targeted for removal, but does state basic locations and the types of businesses.
       Full acquisitions west of Bijou-Cimarron would be an auto repair business, a heavy equipment repair shop, a commercial office building with five tenants, a fuel/convenience store and an automotive rental business.
        Partial acquisitions around Bijou-Cimarron would be a discount store site, an animal shelter, a landscaping business, a broadcasting company, an auto restoration business, a glass company, an office complex, and a hotel and restaurant on Bijou.
       At Fillmore, five homes and five businesses are targeted for removal because of the planned realignment of Chestnut Street farther west of the interchange. The homes are the first five on Chestnut south of Fillmore, just west of the southbound ramp onto Interstate 25.
       A home owner among the five, who said she was ill and declined to give her name, told the Westside Pioneer she was not upset about the move and was glad at least that the state would be buying her house so she wouldn't have to deal with selling it herself.
       The interchange area, which now boasts three gas station/convenience stores, will lose all three, based on the EA. Two are at the current intersection of Chestnut and Fillmore. The third is the liquor store/fuel/ convenience store on Sinton Road just east of I-25. “There are other nearby gasoline stations that can serve the area,” the EA states.
        Slated for total acquistions west of the interchange are an automobile sales business and a vacant commercial lot. Partial acquisitions will be needed from a motel property and a vacant commercial lot, the EA states.
        In keeping with the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (as amended), CDOT must provide “fair compensation” to affected property owners. Also in accordance with the Act, any eligible owner or tenant will be provided assistance in relocating their business or residence at the time of displacement, the EA states.

Westside Pioneer article