EDITOR'S DESK: The odd couple: transients and greenway
There are two articles this issue that may appear to have nothing in common, but I think they actually do. One concerns the Highway 24-related greenway proposals;
the other has to do with the homeless camps along Fountain Creek.
Let's start with a little overview. Today the Westside's creeksides, with few exceptions, belong to transients who at the very least are not invested in this area, and at the very worst are violent drunks who could hurt people, intentionally or not (as indicated by the shooting last week behind the Sonic on West Colorado). Now, some intelligent and well-meaning people believe we should reach out to these folks, perhaps even help them in terms of food, health and personal uplift. Which is fine, to a point. The problem is that in catering to bums who give nothing to the community, we continue to diminish the lives of solid citizens who do.
The creek is a clear example of that. When transients' irresponsible activities make it unhealthy or unsafe for children to play in the water (as Deborah Cunningham of Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful outlines in the article starting on Page 1), something is very wrong.
It felt a bit ironic this week to be tramping in the afternoon past transient debris along Fountain Creek and that evening attending a meeting on a future project (the greenway) that would theoretically transform that water body into a pristine centerpiece for open space, trails, recreation and commerce. As might be imagined, the greenway seemed especially attractive by contrast. But I think I see a trap there. Is the problem the bums or ourselves? We could spend all the money in the world on the greenway, but if we lack the will to treasure it - for instance, why don't places like Sonic, on their own, make the creek an amenity? why not the city at Blunt or Vermijo parks? - we stand to lose it all over again. To bums who thrive on our neglect.