Changes ahead for No Manís Land?
2nd public hearing on Manitou urban renewal proposal at Nov. 21 meeting

       The Manitou Springs City Council will consider on second and final reading Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. an ordinance that would create an urban renewal authority for the town.
       There would be no direct impact on the Westside; however, the study area used in finalizing the urban renewal plan encompassed at least a half-mile of the avenue east of Manitou city limits (to about 33rd Street). Findings meeting state standards for blighted conditions - legally necessary for forming an urban renewal authority - applied to the non-Manitou as well as Manitou parts of the area.
       After a public hearing Oct. 17 in which no property owners from the study area opposed the plan, the Manitou council unanimously approved the authority on first reading. It would take in both sides of the avenue between the Highway 24 interchange and the eastern city limits. Nobody called for removal of the 20-some small motels that dominate that part of the avenue, but some complaints about drug-related crime in that area surfaced at the Oct. 17 meeting.
       The chief advantage of forming an authority is tax increment financing (TIF), which allows increases in taxes resulting from higher property values to be used for improvements within the urban renewal authority area, instead of going to the city's general fund. This could attract one or more developers to consider public-private upgrades in the area, Manitou leaders have expressed.
       Assuming the council votes favorably on second reading, one of the related decisions that must be made is whether the city's authority should be made up of the council members or if there should be a separate board appointed by the mayor.

Westside Pioneer article