District 1 Report: Challenges ahead

By Scott Hente

       Within the City of Colorado Springs, we've been fortunate the last couple of months: Our local economy has made significant improvements, we've seen announcements of new businesses coming to Colorado Springs (even a COSTCO!), and, last November, we were able to successfully pass the Rural Transportation Authority, which will make a significant impact on our local transportation systems. But as fortunate as we have been over the last few months, we have many challenges ahead of us.
       One particular project we are starting to work on that will have a positive effect on the Westside is 31st Street. As our many tourists (and local residents!) turn off of Highway 24 and proceed north on 31st Street, they are greeted with an ugly asphalt median at Kiowa and a bent and broken fence at the start of the drainage channel. For some time, residents within the Pleasant Valley neighborhood have tried to work with the city to create a nice looking entry to their neighborhood at the Kiowa median and to replace the busted-up fence. But faced with bureaucratic hurdles and a lack of funds, they have seen their efforts go nowhere. We are going to try something different.
       Making the argument that 31st Street is an entrance way into our city for the Garden of the Gods and Rock Ledge Ranch, I am working with staff to see if there might be a way for the city to redo (landscaping, decorative sign, etc.) the median and fence. I believe that this is an example of where the city has an obligation, if not a responsibility, to help improve the appearance of a neighborhood. I also believe that we should be able to let this median be an appealing entrance to both the neighborhood and the Garden of the Gods, much like the traffic circles on Lake Avenue are an attractive entrance to the Broadmoor neighborhood and Hotel. I will report back to you on how we move forward on this.
       As I said earlier, we've taken some big steps lately, but we have many journeys in front of us. If you would like to discuss these, or any other issues, please contact me. My office phone at City Hall is 385-5467 and my e-mail is shente@springsgov.com.

Scott Hente is the City Council member for District 1, which includes Pleasant Valley and Westside areas north of Uintah Street. His column is scheduled to appear in the Westside Pioneer every six weeks.