EDITOR'S DESK: A nice view now, looking west

       People who remember what Bijou and Spruce Street used to look like can take heart. The area once housed not one but two plasma centers, and right up to the time of the Bijou bridge closure the block west of it included a rundown gas station, a tired old car rental joint and a view onto an archaic southbound on-ramp with Department of Human Services employees' cars parked sardine-style along its side. Down the rest of the block, other than a few mismatched trees, about the only landscaping to offset the cracking curbs and sidewalks was overgrown juniper bushes.
       This, by the way, is the first block that many newcomers to Colorado Springs see - exiting I-25 at Bijou's southbound off-ramp mainly because it leads to the downtown. It would have been a shock if the view to the right for such motorists back then would have inspired a sudden decision to head into the Westside. "Oh, honey, this looks perfectly delightful! Like walking into the Michael Garman Magic Show. Let's go there!"
       The photo on Page 1 gives an idea of how that view to the west has changed. The COSMIX project would have cleaned the block up quite a bit anyway, but not to the extent it is now, with that quaint little plaza and those colorful pavers and historic-style street lights and extra trees and shrubbery. For all that, we owe a "thank you" to Sallie Clark, our tireless Westside advocate who, even in her third year as a county commissioner, hasn't forgotten for a second the neighborhood she comes from.
       Businesses also deserve kudos. The new Emergi-care at the northwest corner, which bravely opened last January just after the bridge closed, brought a stylish (not to mention healthy) change to the intersection. And, the parking lots for Denny's and the liquor store and restaurant property, are newly paved as well. The crowning touch will be when the sign for the Westside goes in at the plaza. It's already likely that new folks will want to come our way now. A sign (which unfortunately lacks funding at present) will just tell them which way that is.

- K.J.