Business owners and leaders are invited to weigh in on city projects and issues ranging from transportation and infrastructure in southeast Colorado Springs to affordable housing and community development needs throughout the city.

During a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, city officials from several departments including Mountain Metropolitan Transit will share information about connectivity projects in the southeast part of the city, including walkability, infrastructure, roadway construction on Academy Boulevard, sidewalk improvements, trail connections and public transportation.

“Businesses who participate in this meeting will have an opportunity to learn of relevant project timelines that may impact their businesses and share feedback,” Colorado Springs Economic Development Project Manager Chelsea Gaylord said in an email.

Projects that will be highlighted at the meeting include sidewalk connections, improved access to businesses and safety along Academy Boulevard and public transit.

Connectivity projects focus on how walkability, public transportation and infrastructure impact local businesses and their customers.

“The ease in which people can walk, bike, drive or access public transportation influences where and how they spend their money, the value of properties in an area, and can catalyze real estate development,” Gaylord said.

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“Studies have shown that the value of properties near active transportation infrastructure increases and promotes economic development,” she said.

Community development projects

Input from businesses and the public also will be gathered at three listening sessions that will be conducted by the city’s Community Development Division.

The division will highlight projects and solicit feedback on goals for 2019 in the priority areas of affordable housing, neighborhood improvement and preventing and ending homelessness.

“The Community Development Division’s listening sessions are all about empowering residents with critical information about how the city uses grant funds from the U.S. Department of Urban Development on high-priority areas like affordable housing, homelessness, and neighborhood improvement,” said Catherine Duarte, senior analyst with the Community Development Division. “They are also a chance to collect valuable feedback from residents about how these issues affect them and how to best accomplish our shared goals.

Feedback from citizens and businesses will inform the recommendations in its 2019 Action Plan, which will be presented in draft form in late December, Duarte said.

Funds include Community Development Block Grants, which finance local community programs; the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which addresses affordable housing; and Emergency Solutions Grants, which assists people experiencing homelessness in quickly finding permanent housing.

These funds are used to create housing, increase economic opportunity, infrastructure, facilities, programs, and services for low- to moderate-income communities.

The meetings will be held at the following times and dates:
• 6:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at Meadows Park Community Center 1943 S. El Paso Ave.
• 3:30-4:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Colorado Springs Senior Center, 1514 N. Hancock Ave.
• 3:30-4:30 p.m. Oct. 22 in the Pikes Peak Conference Room at City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Ave.