Next OWN board to decide on overlay, who to represent

       The new board for the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) will get to decide on the next steps for the planned historic overlay and the extent to which commercial interests should be represented by the older-Westside advocacy group.
       The two subjects were voted on separately at the Dec. 8 board meeting. The election for four new members - who will take office immediately on the nine-member board - will be at the Jan. 12 OWN town meeting (7 p.m. in the West Intergenerational Center). Before that, a nominating committee, with representatives from each of OWN's six districts, is to meet with prospective candidates. For more information on that process, call Board Secretary Welling Clark at 471-3980.
       The historic overlay would protect the area's older homes through a voluntary process that would verify proposed façade changes meet a localized set of design guidelines. OWN and the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) previously teamed up on a $4,000 project to take digital photos of the nearly 4,000 Westside homes that are in the proposed overlay zone, but a grant request to the State Historical Fund that would have funded a follow-on guidelines-development effort was turned down last month. So the board's vote Dec. 8 was to let the new board determine what to do next. Some good news, according to board Treasurer Dave Hughes, who also sits on the OCCHS board, is that he has heard no objections from the community about the overlay idea.
       The issue of who OWN represents has caused some friction within the current OWN board, and this was evident again Dec. 8. Board Secretary Welling Clark said he had met with Valorie Jordan of the city's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program - which funds OWN - and she told him that it's “up to the neighbors to decide.” But his conclusion (also based on OWN's bylaws) that OWN is legally allowed to support Westside businesses as well as residents was disputed by board member Kristine Van Wert. Reiterating her belief that the purpose of OWN is to represent residents only, she said, “I don't want this (a change in policy) to come back and bite us.”
       In other business... Representatives of the Bank of Broadmoor gave a presentation of their proposed full-service, satellite bank at 3216 W. Colorado Ave. The OWN board was widely complimentary of the plan, calling the bank's building, landscaping and parking layout an improvement over the Arby's fast-food restaurant that used to be located there.
       At the meeting, the OWN board was told that the Arby's building would be demolished starting Dec. 12 (which is what happened).
       The tentative name will be Bank of Broadmoor - Westside. The bank's final plans still need city approval, but city officials routinely look to OWN to get a sense of neighborhood opinion on older-Westside construction projects.

Westside Pioneer article