Workshop kicks off Kum & Go compatibility quest

       Can it be made to fit?

The new Kum & Go on East Fillmore Street, which opened earlier this spring, displays a design similar to the initial concept plan that Kum & Go representatives have suggested for the 2300 block of West Colorado Avenue. The store size is also the same as proposed, at about 5,000 square feet. The main difference is that the East Fillmore facility has 8 pumps while the one proposed for West Colorado would have 10.
Westside Pioneer photo

       That's the problem several local groups will be asked to help Kum & Go convenience store representatives solve at an invitation-only workshop meeting Monday, July 29 at 5:30 p.m. in the Goodwill Administra-tive Room, 2320 W. Colorado Ave.
       At issue is a proposed around-the-clock store with 10 gas pumps on 80,000 square feet currently owned by Discover Good-will (formerly Goodwill Industries) on the south side of the 2300 block of West Colorado Avenue, near the Old Colorado City Historic Shopping District.
       Kum & Go has not formally submitted a plan, but has a contract with Goodwill to purchase that property, which covers all of that side of the block except a few houses and two businesses at the western end. The idea would be to demolish the existing Goodwill building (used to take donated items, process and store them) and build a Kum & Go in its place.
       A preliminary plan, as revealed by Kum & Go representatives, shows the pumps near the avenue and a brick-faced store behind it; however, they have said they are open to ideas from the community.
       The session was requested by Kum & Go, but will be run by Ryan Tefertiller, the planner assigned to the project with City Land Use Review. “I will be working with them [Kum & Go] to determine what type of issues they want to discuss,” he said.
       The workshop will be the second gathering to discuss the 2300-block proposal. A neighborhood meeting June 27 attracted about 75 people, most of them voicing opposition.
       In Tefertiller's view, as expressed in his e-mail announcing the July 29 workshop, “at the June 27 neighborhood meeting for this project there were numerous comments made that the proposed project must be designed in a way that allowed it to 'fit in' with the Old Colorado City Historic District just west of the site. Kum & Go would like your thoughts on how to best achieve this goal. As such they will have representatives, including their architect,” on hand.
       In keeping with the company's wishes, Tefertiller said that he selected “specific, formal stakeholder organizations. Those organizations are to choose a few attendees to represent their common interests at the meeting… My intent is to honor Kum & Go's desire to dialog with a smaller number of stakeholders so that they can get ideas on how to improve the project as much as possible.”
       The planner's list of invitees consisted of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN), Old Colorado City Associates, Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District, Old Colorado City Historical Society, Old Colorado City Foundation, Coalition of Neighborhood Organizations, Pikes Peak Urban Intervention and American Institute of Architects - Southern Colorado Chapter.
       Sue Spengler, who is leading a petition drive against the project (now with more than 700 signatures), was not invited. She said she does not plan on crashing the meeting. “They [Kum & Go and the city] have the right not to invite us to the meeting,” said the resident and business owner, who lives two blocks from the property. “I don't like it, but they have the right to do it.”
       She hopes at least to work with OWN, the recognized volunteer organization for residents in the city's Westside Neighborhood Strategy Area. The OWN board has voted to oppose the 2300-block proposal, in the belief that a more naturally compatible buyer for the property can still be found.
       Tefertiller clarified that no decisions will be made at the workshop. “Applicants meeting with stakeholder groups is pretty typical, and could be done in a more piecemeal fashion without the city's involvement,” he pointed out. “This meeting will just get many of the key groups together at the same time to provide more dialog between the groups, while also allowing me to hear the discussion first-hand.”
       A Colorado Springs daily newspaper had four key errors in an article about the issue this week.
       One was calling the July 29 gathering a “meeting,” without noting the workshop/invitation-only aspects.
       A second error was the statement that Goodwill's asking price for the south side of the 2300 block is $2.32 million. According to Bradd Hafer of Goodwill, that is actually the amount Goodwill has sought for its properties on both sides of the 2300 block, which total 140,000 square feet. The roughly 60,000 square feet on the north side is under a separate contract to Junior Achievement.
       Hafer declined to reveal the dollar amounts for either contract, but said that from those sales the nonprofit is hopeful of receiving close to its overall asking price. This would help Goodwill cover the cost of a down payment on a new retail support center on South Academy Boulevard, the tasks at which would include the donation processing occurring now on the south side of the 2300 block, he explained.
       Also erroneous in the daily's article were the statements that the Planning Commission will be at the July 29 meeting and that the commission could OK the needed zone change (City Council has the final say on zone changes).

Westside Pioneer article