Lovell new face in City’s CDBG program
Sides moving to North Nevada Avenue project

       For the past 10 years, neighborhoods on the Westside have gotten to know Don Sides as manager of the capital improvements arm of the city's Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG). He's been the man to talk to about publicly funded improvements in residential areas, mainly sidewalks, curbs and gutters.
       But with Sides getting reassigned as development project coordinator for the city's North Nevada Corridor upgrades (tied in with the I-25 widening north of Fillmore Street), Westsiders are seeing a new face for CDBG activities. He is Brad Lovell, a Colorado Springs native and three-year city employee.
       Lovell grew up on the Eastside, but said that his Westside assignment with a subdivision review team in City Engineering “got me pretty familiar” with this part of town.
       Now, with CDBG, “I'm looking forward to getting involved with the Westside,” Lovell told the Westside Pioneer. “It will be good to be a part of improving the unique older areas. Fixing things up can act as a stimulus for pride in the community.”
       As for the Eastside, he expressed disappointment in how “generic” it's become. “Developers bring in their own style,” he said. “Independent style is lost. You could be here or in Salt Lake City.”
       For Sides' part, “I'll miss the relationship with the neighborhoods,” he said. “I've enjoyed that. But I'm looking forward to my new adventure.”
       Of Lovell, his replacement, Sides said, “I think he'll do really good.”
       CDBG is a federal program, under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), that is available in Colorado Springs to seven parts of town that have been designated by City Council as Neighborhood Strategy Areas (NSAs). Two of these are the older Westside and the Mesa Springs neighborhood. An area is eligible for NSA designation if 51 percent of the the property owners earn below median incomes.
       Sides, who has been working with Lovell in the transition this fall, introduced the new manager at the November town meeting of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN).
       He said afterward he is familiarizing Lovell with all the neighborhood associations and main contact people in the NSAs. “With seven different areas, each with different needs, you have to be able to separate out each one's concerns,” he said. The Westside is not only the largest NSA, but has “a lot of historical emphasis, so you have to be careful there,” Sides added.
       Over the next few months, OWN (the volunteer citizen group representing the Westside NSA), the Mesa Springs Community Association and affected residents will be meeting with CDBG on possible NSA projects for the program's April-March budget year.
       One area Lovell is looking at on the Westside is Vermijo Street, where he is proposing sidewalks to connect Vermijo Park at 26th Street with Blunt Park at 24th Street. “I hope to start up the input process in January,” he said.
       The process will include meetings, letters to area property owners and door-to-door visits. “We don't want to force things down anyone's throats,” Lovell said, echoing a philosophy Sides has expressed in the past.
       Westside projects in recent years have included new sidewalks between Midland Elementary and Broadway Street this year; retaining walls, street-widening and sidewalks along Uintah between 19th and 25th streets in 1999-2001; and development of Promontory Point Open Space Park, on about 4 acres north of Limit Street and south of West Platte Avenue, in 2002.

Westside Pioneer article