‘New’ Chestnut about to open all the way through

       The north leg of the “new” Chestnut Street is expected to open within a week, allowing a clear passage for the first time on the realigned roadway across Fillmore Street.
       According to Leif Neufeld, site superintendent for Blue Ridge Construction, the timing depends on getting consistent temperatures at least in the high 40s, because that will allow a second “lift” of asphalt to be applied over the first layer that was put on about a week ago. “We're shooting for the end of this week or next week,” he said.
       A third and final lift will be put in later, after the last concrete work is completed; as a result, barrels will initially define the middle of the north leg instead of striping, Neufeld pointed out.
       Chestnut's new north segment has been under construction for several months as part of the $7 million Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) project aimed at improving Fillmore's traffic flow.
       Blue Ridge, the project contractor, opened the south leg in August. The two legs are designed to curve west from the street's otherwise straight-north/south line and cross Fillmore at a stoplight about a block west of the interchange.
       In keeping with the changes, when the north leg opens, Blue Ridge crews will move the interchange's current stoplight (which had included Chestnut) about 50 feet east to line up better with the ramps. (While necessary for safety to make major changes there, it would be necessary to “go through a master plan process.” He confessed he did not know how old the park's current plan is. “In my 15 years with the city, it hasn't changed,” he said.
       But it's nothing new for City Parks to work with and even provide matching funds for volunteer groups, with such past examples as skateboarding, handball or tennis facilities, Schroeder said.
       Van Ness pointed out that the OCCF has never thought city funding was absolutely necessary. “I don't know if we even started on this with the expectation that Parks would use its funds,” he pointed out. “They just have to agree.”
       But what to agree on? That too may take some time. Plans for the park are still preliminary from a board standpoint, with only one landscape architect having presented concept drawings so far.
       The OCCF board wants local people to feel involved. Van Ness has urged citizens to contact him with ideas (phone 440-0234 or dave@shopoldcoloradocity.com. He also hopes to keep the issue before the public eye by using (with permission) Colorado Springs Utilities' summer-season water-usage sign near the cabin to show any increases in OCCF fundraising totals.
       In the meantime, fund-raising will continue. Van Ness said the board hopes to make the two 2013 events (“Taste of OCC” in the spring and “Harvest in the Park” in the fall) into annual affairs. Also, donation boxes, in which people can donate to OCCF, are starting to appear in Westside retail stores. And, Van Ness said he plans to start writing grant applications, once Christmas season is over.

Westside Pioneer article