OCC Security Board OKs streetlight contract

       The Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District Board approved a contract with Colorado Springs Utilities for 41 new or replacement streetlights at its meeting Sept. 7.
       The action moves Old Colorado City closer to a new lighting look. Double-headed and 14 feet high, the lamps will have a more historic look than the taller, single-headed, more standard style of streetlights that have lit the three-block area of Colorado Avenue between 24th and 27th streets for roughly 50 years; also, the new lights are expected to be brighter, a Utilities administrator has stated.
       According to a prior written pledge by Utilities, its workers must install the lights within 10 weeks of the agreement being finalized. The district goal is to have the lights in before Christmas.
       The district, funded by Old Colorado City property owners, is responsible for its appearance and safety. Board members must be district property owners.
       The $127,000 cost of the new lights is being shared by the district and Utilities. The district's $97,000 share is coming from its reserves.
       Board members do not plan to begin removing the district's 50-some, aging globe lights until they have seen how bright the new lamps are.
       The removal will ultimately lead to a savings on the district's electric bill because Utilities will own the new lights, whereas the district owns the globe lights.
       At the same time, the board is looking at adding 20-some small lights to aid visibility at street corners.
       24th/Colorado traffic danger?
       A letter from Pikes Peak National Bank CEO John Georgeson added to ongoing Old Colorado City traffic concerns, warning there is a “catastrophe waiting to happen.”
       At its August meeting, some board members had talked about ways to slow traffic entering Old Town on Colorado Avenue. One suggestion was for a stoplight at 24th Street (the bank is on the southwest corner of that intersection).
       Georgeson's letter states, in part: “With all the expanded usage of Bancroft Park and surrounding roadways, I believe it is very important that a stoplight be placed on this corner… The issue is that Old Colorado City is a pedestrian destination and much of that 'traffic' flows back and forth across 24th Street… This is a catastrophe waiting to happen almost every day.”
       Another idea from the August meeting - considering the “Manitou solution” of narrowing the avenue to two lanes - did not get a good reception Sept. 7. Bill Grimes, one of the 25-year-old board's original members, said that while he understands the idea of slowing traffic, two-laning might take it too far. “In Manitou, every car that backs up while parking stops traffic,” Grimes said.
       Board member Mary Purinsh concurred that she didn't think the plan is working very well there.
       Ric Geiman, City Parks' liaison to the board, said he had tried to get a person from City Traffic Engineering to come to the meeting, but the individual couldn't make it. He said he will try again for the board's October meeting.

Westside Pioneer article