Grant application submitted for ‘No man’s land’ analysis

       With approval from the Manitou Springs City Council, a grant application has gone forward that would result in closer scrutiny of the 1.5-mile “no man's land” segment of Manitou/Colorado Avenue between Manitou's Highway 24 overpass and the Westside Safeway.
       Kitty Clemens, director of Manitou's Economic Development Corporation (EDC), said she is confident the $82,500 grant will be awarded before the end of September. Based on the city's ongoing downtown-renovation work in conjunction with the state, “We're already qualified for the grant,” she said. “There's just a whole lot of paperwork we have to do.”
       The Manitou council agreed Aug. 16 to pay the required 10 percent of the cost, with the State Department of Local Affairs covering the remainder. Current Manitou-funded survey work along that part of the avenue is being used for the city's match, Mayor Marcy Morrison said after the council meeting.
       The grant would pay a consultant to do a “technical analysis” of the segment, according to Clemens. She stressed that this does not mean a plan is being developed; that would come later and require additional funding from sources that are not currently identified.
       The analysis “will take all the information that's public record, such as real estate information, traffic counts, utilities, ingress and egress and lights, and get all this into one big pile that we can later show to consultants and say what does this mean to you for economic redevelopment,” Clemens said. “When we get to that stage, there will be public input. We're not designing anything now.”
       One of the side-effects of the grant application was a finding that the segment is “blighted.” This has raised hackles with some business owners along the avenue, who believe this will hurt trade. But Clemens has stressed that the term only refers to the public improvements there.
       The segment has been informally dubbed “no man's land” in some circles because it has been neglected for years by four government agencies with investments there - Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Manitou Springs and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Westside Pioneer article