Merchants develop new definition of Old Town
Where is Old Colorado City? Or for that matter, the Westside?
One definition for Old Colorado City is the three-block commercial area (24th to 27th streets along Colorado Avenue between Pikes Peak Avenue and Cucharras Street), as basically defined by the Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District.
Others may see Old Colorado City, or at least the historic Westside, as the area within the town's boundaries from the pre-World War 1 Colorado City days. The original Fosdick Plat that formalized the town's founding in 1859 shows an area which, according to Westside historian Dave Hughes, was bounded by modern-day 13th Street on the east, 32nd Street on the west, roughly Uintah Street on the north and Bott Avenue on the south.
This year, there's a new description, worked out by the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group and its membership committee: “'Westside' shall mean the area within [up to] the boundaries of Manitou Springs on the west, to I-25 on the east, and from the north side of Uintah Street to the south side of Highway 24.”
The OCCA tasked the membership committee with the study in conjunction with an effort to add more dues-paying members. Committee members decided they first needed to define the area in which members were to be recruited.
But there proved to be issues. “When we try to answer 'Who are we?' and 'To whom are we offering it?' we run into problems,” explains the committee's Qualifications for Membership report, which was written last March. “The organization is named Old Colorado City Associates, but the By-Laws state 'Westside.' Neither term is defined.”
To help find answers, the committee reviewed “a number of sources,” the report states. These were:
The city website, which “only shows a map for the boundaries of Old Colorado City according to the National Register of Historic Districts. The boundaries encompass West Colorado Avenue only from 24th to 26th streets, excluding most of the south side of the street. Clearly this will not help, [because] more than half of our members would no longer qualify.”
The boundaries established by the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) - “I-25 on the east, Rio Grande St. on the south, city limits with Manitou Springs on the west, and Uintah, 19th, and King St. on the north,” the report states. “These boundaries create an erratic pattern difficult to understand north and south.”
The 80904 zip code area. This would have allowed “easy screening of applicants,” the report points out. However, “again we found an erratic pattern that encompassed some areas we felt were unwanted, while leaving out others that were desired.”
The map of the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors (PPAR). The map defines the Westside as an area north of Old Colorado City and up to Garden of the Gods Road and including Cedar Heights, the report states. “These boundaries exclude most of what we want to include and vice-versa.”
The original boundaries of Colorado City. “We decided something close to this and the PPAR map would make the most sense,” the report states. “Half-mile north and south is still ambiguous. We wanted to maintain some respect for the historic aspect of the area, while broadening the base for attracting prospective members and keeping the boundaries clear, simple, and easy to administer.”
The resulting OCCA “Westside” adds to and also subtracts from the original Colorado City. Added are areas to the east (up to I-25) and to the west (up to Manitou city limits) along Colorado Avenue. Subtracted is the portion of the Midland area (south of Cimarron Street/Highway 24) to Bott Avenue. That area includes the 19th century-built Midland railroad yards - Highway 24 follows the original Midland train route - and the 21st century Roundhouse shopping center.
According to OCCA President Charles Irwin, “if we went across the street from Cimarron, or north of Uintah, we were afraid we wouldn't be able to draw traffic to the corridor area.”
In any case, the OCCA's new area seems to be working out fine. The merchants group has added about 20 members to the 84 it had last spring (as noted in the membership committee report), and marketing director Seiko Tran said recently that several of the new signups are in that expanded area.
Westside Pioneer article