Goodwill steps up 2300 block activity... at least for now
A year ago, the plan for Goodwill Industries - after consolidating operations into a large facility on Garden of the Gods Road - was to essentially evacuate Old Colorado City except for its retail store and donation/processing center.
It hasn't quite worked out that way, as passersby can tell from the recent increase in activity around the buildings on 141,000 square feet of property that are owned by the nonprofit entity for the disabled and disadvantaged on both sides of West Colorado Avenue's 2300 block.
From e-mail exchanges, the Westside Pioneer learned the reason for this increase - also, that Goodwill has an unnamed “potential buyer” for one or more of those properties.
The following consists of related excerpts from a recent e-mail exchange between the Pioneer and Bradd Hafer of Discover Goodwill (as it's now named).
Pioneer: Just following up on a reader inquiry... What aspects of the Goodwill operation still exist in the 2300 block of West Colorado, how long do you expect they will continue there, and is the property still for sale?
Hafer: “After further research, our properties on the 2300 block of West Colorado Ave. remain actively on the market but there are no confirmed buyers at this time. We continue to operate material donation collections, sorting and salvage operations out of the 2307 W. Colorado Ave. facility. The West Store at 2304 W. Colorado Ave. continues to operate as usual. We are continuing to use the 2320 W. Colorado Ave. facility for our job-training classes offered through the Career Development Center. These operations will remain in place until all or a portion of these properties are sold. We are in the process of searching for other properties to relocate these operations to if and when the West Colorado Avenue properties are sold.”
Pioneer: About how many employees and/or clients continue to be present on a daily basis for the activities you described at the buildings in that block? And wasn't the idea at one time to discontinue all the activities except the store and the loading dock?
Hafer: “We have between 7 and 21 Career Develop-ment Center staff occupying the 2320 W. Colorado Ave. facility during the weekdays. The numbers vary depending on the time of day and volume of clients served. The daily client volume ranges from 75 to 200. We temporarily relocated our job training courses to this location after the Spruce Street facility [owned by El Paso County] was no longer available.
“Again, this is a temporary move until we find a permanent location for these operations. We also feel that the continued occupancy of this facility while on the market will help deter vandalism, along with ensuring continued upkeep/ maintenance and monitoring of the facility itself.
“Our donations processing plant staffs approximately 55 employees throughout the work week… We have 10 employees working at the West store.”
In a further follow-up, the Pioneer asked Dave Rose of El Paso County why the space for Goodwill became unavailable at 17 N. Spruce.
Rose: “Goodwill provides counseling and job training/placement services that DHS is required to provide to recipients of Tem-porary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), as well as Food Assistance clients who are enrolled in the Employment First program.
“Urgent repairs and some interior modifications were needed at the 17 N. Spruce building to efficiently consolidate the classroom and related functions of the Goodwill contract.
“Goodwill had the ability to continue those functions in their old buildings on West Colorado, but the possibility of selling those buildings before work was completed on the Spruce facility created a potential timing problem.
“The county has been working with Goodwill and a potential buyer for the West Colorado Avenue building and has received tentative assurances that it can lease the space on Colorado for a short term even if Goodwill sells the building. It would likely be only a matter of a couple of months, and the county is planning to move the Goodwill training functions back into the Spruce Street facility Sept. 1.”
Westside Pioneer article