Westside Briefs:
Last Family Fun Night of season Nov. 19

       The schedule for the Westside Community Center is changing as winter approaches.

Colorado Springs Utilities crews work on a streetlight on South 26th Street in a photo shot this year. All the lights will become operational in 2011, based on City Council's announced plans for the 2011 budget.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The Family Fun Nights, which have been featuring free bingo for all ages weekly on Fridays since September, are ending (as planned) after Nov. 19.
       Scheduled classes and activities, including the free monthly bike repair and twice-weekly ping pong (Monday and Friday afternoons) will continue, at least through December.
       Meanwhile, schedule changes starting in January are in the works. Center coordinator Dick Siever said one idea that's taking shape is separate monthly events/get- togethers for teens and for families. Possibilities for the teens have included a battle of the bands, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and a Nerf dodgeball tournament. “We're working on all this now,” he said.
       The public facility, currently open Monday through Friday, is at 1628 W. Bijou St. The phone is 385-7920.
       Streetlight outlook bright
       Although City Council has given staff preliminary direction to end the streetlight deactivation and adoption programs and turn residential streetlights back on for 2011, no currently turned-off lights will be turned back on until after council's final budget action.
       That is anticipated in December, according to John Leavitt of the City Communications Office.
       “Anticipating Council's approval, staff has begun to create a plan to reactivate residential lights and may begin the process in December,” he said.
       Refunds are also being prepared for people who had adopted lights for the remainder of 2010 and all of 2011, Leavitt said.
       The number of streetlights shut off on the Westside is not available. The Pioneer had requested a Westside list from the city, but the only one provided contained all the shut-off lights, citywide.
       In balancing the tight 2010 budget, the city goal had been to shut off only those streetlights with low energy efficiency and in areas with “high ambient lighting” (near already lit parking lots or buildings), according to the city website (springsgov.com). However, hundreds of people thought otherwise and willingly paid more than $100 apiece to keep certain ones turned on this year under a new streetlight adoption program. With increased sales-tax revenues this year, City Council has decided it can afford the cost again.
       The city website includes a statement explaining the 2010 shutoff: “In cooperation with Colorado Springs Utilities, the City estimates it can save $1.245 million in 2010 by turning off 8,000 to 10,000 streetlights.”
       Transition team at CTU
       Partners for Colorado, the transition team for new Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia, will host one of 11 planned regional meetings Saturday, Nov. 20 at Colorado Technical University, 4435 N. Chestnut St.
       The public event will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Scheduled subject areas are economic development, human services, health care, public health and the military.
       Several leaders from the area, including County Commissioner Sallie Clark, have been selected to participate in the transition.
       The goal of the meetings is to “engage people throughout the state in discussing ideas and suggestions for moving Colorado forward,” said Clark, who is active with the Republican Party.
       The public can also submit comments at partnersforcolorado.com. Clark's phone number at the county is 520-6413.
       Hickenlooper, a Democrat, defeated two opponents in the Nov. 2 election. He and Garcia will begin serving their four-year terms in January.
       Westside leaf recycling
       The City Street Division has begun its annual stormwater cleanup effort, including six leaf recycling locations around the community.
       One of these is scheduled for the Westside, at Uintah and 25th streets, Monday, Nov. 22 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A press release adds, however, that “locations are subject to change due to inclement weather and trucks may be gone for short periods of time to dump the leaves when the truck beds are full. Citizens may call Streets Dispatch at 385-5934 for information.”
       Throughout the city, “streetsweepers are working city roads in a grid pattern to eliminate excess leaf build up in streets and prevent the clogging of stormwater inlets, which can cause flooding and adversely impact water quality,” the press release continues. “Citizens are reminded to not sweep leaves and other yard debris into the street or drainage areas. Doing so is a violation of City Code and can result in fines.”

Westside Pioneer/press releases