Public meeting scheduled to discuss South Nevada Ave. urban renewal

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Work has begun in the South Nevada Urban Renewal District, but the massive makeover south of Interstate 25 is far from complete.

To update business owners within the South Nevada Urban Renewal District, the city of Colorado Springs is hosting an informational meeting at 6 p.m. July 12. The open meeting will be at The Vanguard School Cafetorium at 1605 S. Corona Ave. Plans and progress within the district will be discussed.

Scheduled to attend the meeting from the city are Jariah Walker, executive director of the South Nevada Urban Renewal Authority District; Ryan Tefertiller, the city’s urban planning manager; Kathleen Krager, city traffic engineer; and city representatives from the parks, community development and economic development departments.

“It’s been positive to see some blighted buildings removed and we’re looking forward to more progress,” Tefertiller said.

The meeting topics will include:

  • Proposed South Nevada Streetscape Design Guidelines
  • Proposed changes to South Nevada access, traffic signals, and traffic operations
  • Future trail development along Cheyenne Creek
  • Update on redevelopment plans and projects within the corridor

Tefertiller said the two main goals of the meeting are to “make sure the public is aware of the new streetscape design standards and for them to hear about the progress of projects, those ongoing and forthcoming. It’s also an opportunity for business owners or residents to express concerns or ask questions, to have a dialogue between the city and the public.”

The new streetscape design standards, Tefertiller said, will include trees plus wider, safer sidewalks that are more removed from vehicle traffic on the busy street.

“The corridor is extremely auto-oriented,” Tefertiller said. “The sidewalks are in bad condition and usually narrow. As a pedestrian, you feel like cars are going right by you. We’ll have a second elevated curb that should make pedestrians feel safer.”

Alleviating traffic congestion is another concern, said city spokeswoman Kim Melchor.

“As changes and development takes place, the plan is to try to improve traffic patterns and flow,” Melchor said.  “The plan is being reviewed by CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation), and we’ll have more public engagement in the future. We want a traffic corridor that works for businesses as well as residents. We’re asking for a lot of different stakeholder engagement, and we’re in the preliminary stages of that.”

According to the city’s Urban Renewal Authority website: “The South Nevada Avenue Corridor is to be comprised of a mix of land uses that include commercial/retail uses along both sides of Nevada Avenue and multi-family, restaurant and hotel uses located along Tejon Street. A linear park will be created along Cheyenne Creek that will provide recreational amenities as well as provide needed drainage improvements.”

The website estimates 683 permanent jobs will be created by the renewal project, with an increased tax revenue of $1 million a year.

Three separate buildings are under construction south of Navajo Street and north of Ramona Avenue, Tefertiller said.

“Four businesses are going in, with Natural Grocers in the biggest building,” he said. “Chick-fil-A is in another building and the third one has two tenants, Zoes Kitchen and Mad Greens. They’re all expected to open in the next few months.

“That area is a gateway to downtown and The Broadmoor,” City Councilor Jill Gaebler told the Business Journal last year. “Right now it’s not very attractive. The renovations will infill public investment, serve as a catalyst for further development and hopefully encourage surrounding owners to take good care of their areas.”

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