Despite moving, Goodwill hopes it can influence future of 2300 block
Outreach begins to gather ideas from community

       Goodwill Industries of Colorado Springs has begun meeting informally with community groups - including the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) last month - to gather ideas about future uses for properties in the 2300 block of West Colorado Avenue that the nonprofit entity plans to vacate next year.
       “We want to get everyone's opinion,” said Laura Marth, a spokesperson for the nonprofit company. “We definitely respect the community and want to leave it [the block] in a good spot.”
       The management's general view is that the block is “the gateway to Old Colorado City,” Marth said.
       However, she agreed that Goodwill can only go so far in making proposals for the future because the company will be selling all its holdings there except the retail store (which will remain in business).
       “We can suggest to them [whoever buys the properties] what we want, knowing that they can develop the way they want,” Marth said.
       Goodwill's new home will be 1460 W. Garden of the Gods Road, which has a total of 100,930 square feet on 7.75 acres. The company plan is to relocate its administrative offices and other non-retail operations citywide into that facility. The scheduled date to complete the move is late spring 2012, Marth said.
       She reported that the currently owned Goodwill properties in the 2300 block total 141,000 square feet of land, including several buildings. The move was decided on because of a company decision that it had outgrown the block after steadily expanding there since starting in the Springs 50 years ago.
       OWN took no action at its Sept. 8 meeting, when Goodwill CEO Karla Grazier, joined by representatives of an architectural firm, explained that the company is “looking for appropriate uses for the buildings,” OWN board minutes state.
       Brad Collins, an OWN board member who was at the September meeting, will be an unofficial liaison to Goodwill in that process, the minutes state.
       He said afterward he's hoping for a viable commercial development: “I want this thing bustling over here.” However, Collins emphasized that it would be up to the new owners to decide. “I'd never profess to tell somebody how to spend their money,” he said.
       At this time, Goodwill has no other community meetings scheduled, but Marth said she will announce such information when she has it.
       With close to 1,000 employees, Goodwill serves about 70,000 area people through its programs.

Westside Pioneer article