Older Old Town wasn’t so great

       This is in response to the letter from Judy Freeman (“4 cents worth from a Westside native,” Westside Pioneer, Oct. 13), in which she refers to the Colorado Avenue as “going down,” based on how she remembers it.
       Memories are a little like DNA - no two are exactly alike and time takes its toll. I have known people who, when alive, were mean as snakes and made their spouses totally miserable. Within a few short years after death, those same spouses speak of them as if they were saints - much to the dismay of those of us who remembered quite differently.
       Part of her letter describes Old Colorado City as cluttered and junky. I take exception to that, along with a great number of other inhabitants here. Never in its history has it had as much charm as it has today. Most all of the storefronts are tastefully done and appealing. One only needs to take a tour of the History Center to recall what the area used to be like. In the late '60s and early '70s, it was on the verge of “ghetto.” There were a few bars and many, many, empty and boarded-up stores. It was not a place to be after dark!! A group of enterprising businessmen set about the task of renovating and renewing by securing funding and creating new ordinances. Hundreds of thousands were spent then, property owners taking huge financial risks because they believed in the area. And it was a major success.
       Just this year alone, the property owners have spent $126,000 on new, double-headed, historic-looking street lights. Another $30,000 to $50,000 is scheduled for more accent lighting and landscaping. Over the years, all of the handicapped ramps have been upgraded, brick pavers replaced the old broken concrete sidewalks, and grass and trees are where there used to be only weeds. The merchants have flower barrels along the avenue along with the other flower boxes. Most of the people I have talked to who have visited Old Colorado City find it delightful. Some have said it's even more fun to visit than Larimer Square. Most merchants spent a lot of money on their displays and many others have invested life savings into their buildings.
       Ms. Freeman's memory of the old days before all this “going down” just proves that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (or memory holder) as the case may be.

Judith Kasten

Another 3rd-gen Westsider’s view

       First, my “lineage”… I am a third-generation Westsider. My grandmother was born in Colorado Springs in 1892 and raised her family here, including my mother who raised her family here including me, and I raised my daughters here on the Westside. My husband was born on the Westside, and his family owned the floor-covering business: Floor Craft at the corner of 21st and Colorado Avenue.
       Regarding the painting on the building at the corner of Colorado Avenue and 21st Street, here's my take on the controversy: The art depicted is bright and colorful, does not contain obscenities or drug references and was a commissioned work by the business owners and permitted by the building owners (also long-time Westsiders). I consider “graffiti” to be unsolicited and crudely done spray painted marking that usually contain vulgar words and drug references.
       Some people consider nude paintings by the masters, homes painted pink and turquoise, cars painted orange and blue offensive. We all are entitled to our opinions. But, as long as individualism is not infringing on the rights of others or against the laws of the land….let it go! Get a life!
       If you are of the opinion that the art on this building is offensive, don't look at it. If you truly have a problem with the painting and can not avoid it, please consider moving to a neighborhood that has covenants governing how you are allowed to paint your own property, what color of window coverings are permitted in your front-facing windows, when you may have your garage door open or restrictions of similar nature.
       This is the Westside and residents have personal freedoms here! That's one of the great things about the Westside. We're not all alike, but for the most part true Westsiders (longtime and newcomers) are tolerant of their neighbors' tastes. Please don't try to remake or clean up “my” Westside! I like it just fine the way it is and the changes over the years that add life, diversity and vibrancy.
       P.S. Three cheers for the acceptance of area residents and approval on the location for the plumbing company!

Patty Strauch