EDITORíS DESK: In quest of Kum & Go alternatives
One thing I've found in this Kum & Go saga is that the store proposal in Old Colorado City has stirred a lot of emotions.
Most people seem to be opposed - mainly because the 5,000-square-foot building and 10 gas pumps are so outsized next to the century-old homes and shops the facility would be neighboring. But I've also heard scattered comments that Kum & Go wouldn't be so bad and has a history of quality and charity; also that Goodwill has the right to sell to whoever it chooses, and anyway it deserves our support as an effective nonprofit.
Still, there's no denying the movement in opposition. In scarcely a month, organizer Sue Spengler - a former public schoolteacher (now owner of her own small school) and long-time resident of the area near the would-be location - has gathered more than 1,000 signatures on her grassroots petition against it. (Note that it's not just a one-click deal - signers must also enter their names and street addresses). On July 29, about 60 of those folks showed up to make signs and then walk around with them. It started out as a quiet march by those uninvited to the simultaneous Kum & Go workshop on design issues, but evolved into an actual protest, as described in our news article this issue.
I do believe the company had good intentions in setting up that workshop - hoping to move past the opposition voices so as to better hear potential compromise solutions from recognized community individuals and groups, but I had my doubts going in and still do. Like horse traders, the store representatives offered only the most modest of design changes, mainly colors or brick and stone types. What would it take to get them to agree to something as radical as what the town fathers in Freeport, Maine forced on McDonald's some years ago, transforming the golden arches into a seaside shanty? I imagine it would be like pulling teeth.
But the heck with all that. I think it's time the store realizes, that if you have to uninvite people to get ideas for your proposal, then it's a bad proposal. Spengler (as well as the Westside Plan) say the 2300 block is key to the Westside's future. If Kum & Go needs help finding a better site, or Goodwill a more suitable buyer, let's give it to them. We can be positive about being negative.