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EDITOR'S DESK: What makes the Westside the ‘best side’

By Kenyon Jordan

       One of my favorite things about the Westside - and a big reason why Therese and I have stayed here all these years - is that it's never full of itself.
       Let the rest of the world go insane, with people killing for religious reasons, destroying their own cities, following duplicitous leaders or seeking publicity for self-defeating reasons. Here on the Westside, wealth is rare, but families tend to be tight and keep each other in line. The occasional demagogue doesn't last. People work, volunteer and try to have fun.
       Elsewhere, residents commonly live where their jobs take them. On the Westside,

it's the opposite, with people who've come here because it felt right - and then figured out how to make it work.
       We have the best parks in town, probably the highest percentage of independent businesses and, in Old Colorado City, one of the few preserved Old West downtowns. Another bonus: No matter how nasty the weather gets in the Pikes Peak region, it's always a little nicer over here.
       Nobody on the Westside cares what color people are, what they do in the privacy of their homes or where or how they lived before.
       It's a place where, for example, a large-scale laundry operation like Sno-White can operate in the center of Old Colorado City, and although gripes are heard once in a while that it isn't compatible with the historic shopping district, most locals shrug and appreciate that it employs scores of people… and thus the complaints go nowhere.
       But the Westside is also a place that will stand up for itself, such as during the public process on the Highway 24 expansion several years ago, when state engineers heard an earful about the notion of bulldozing neighborhoods and businesses just to let tourists save a minute or two bypassing this part of town.
       Generally, Westsiders we know aren't crazy about infill development. Old-timers especially miss the unfenced lands they used to roam as kids. But they also recognize that private property is private property. People have to live somewhere. And if you have a small-business, as many do on the Westside, you're already welcoming the new folks and hoping they'll shop with you.
       Despite the changes, I kind of think that if Anthony Bott, one of Colorado City's main founders, came back today he would like his old stomping grounds. True, his town was annexed by Colorado Springs in 1917 and things have changed a lot. Street are paved (most even have curbs now), and cars and bicycles have replaced horses, trains and streetcars. But the original 1859 Fosdick Plat is unrescinded and I'll bet Bott would have no trouble relating to the independent cusses who give the Westside so much of its character. Remember, we're not talking saints here. A big reason the parks are still so great, in all fairness, is that some of Bott's own quarrying plans in Red Rock Canyon and the Garden of the Gods didn't proceed as far as he'd envisioned.
       Maybe what the man would find most appealing if he came back is that the Westside is still a generally happy place (despite modern complications and dismal intrusions of political correctness) where men and women are content to live and let live. Most of us aren't affluent, we argue now and then and there's a sense of powerlessness at times as part of a big city. But it feels free, and it feels like home.

(Posted 7/28/15; Opinion: Editor's Desk)

       Kenyon Jordan is the editor of the Westside Pioneer.

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