Manitou gets grant for No Man’s Land analysis; CS, county getting in act

       An $82,500 grant has been received from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs that will allow a technical analysis of the publicly neglected West Colorado Avenue segment informally known as “No Man's Land.”
       Kitty Clemens, Manitou Springs' economic development director, said she is now in the process of looking for a company that will be interested in doing the work. “The field's wide open, competition-wise,” she said.
       The intent of the analysis is to provide solid information about the segment -identified in the grant as the 1 ½ miles between the Manitou bypass east to the Red Rock shopping center - so that elected officials can decide how to proceed with a redevelopment plan, Clemens has previously explained.
       Examples of the information to be collected for the analysis are utility systems, sizes of buildings, shapes of lots and ingress/ egress issues, Clemens said. “Then it's A matter of compiling and analyzing,” she elaborated.
       Complicating any redevelopment effort is the reality that three government entities (Colorado Springs, El Paso County and Manitou Springs) have jurisdiction in different places through No Man's Land. Also likely to be involved in any upgrades would be the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), because the avenue there is US Business 24.
       Since Clemens began discussing her grant request last summer, Colorado Springs and El Paso County have begun taking action of their own.
       According to Janet Stephens, principal transportation planner for the county's Department of Transportation, the county has applied for transportation enhancement funds through the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG), which would allow the installation of sidewalk and curb and gutter along a nearly half-mile stretch that is under county jurisdiction, she said. The first phase would be from the Manitou Springs city limits to Columbia Road, she said.
       Speaking about the lack of sidewalk and crosswalks in that area, she said, “It's just amazing, people competing with vehicles. It's not appropriate. People shouldn't have to do that.”
       Meanwhile, City Parks is tentatively planning sidewalk of its own, as a result of long-range plans to route part of the Midland Trail along Colorado Avenue between Ridge Road and Columbia. City Trails Coordinator Jeff Haley said the sidewalk would probably be wider than typical sidewalks because, as a city trail, it could also be used by bicycles and even horses.
       Neither the city nor county work is likely to lead to actual work until at least 2008, according to separate interviews with Haley and Stephens.

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