by Pam Zubeck
It's not exactly a stop-the-presses kind of announcement, but for thousands of people who drive, work or live near Academy Boulevard every day, it's important.
I'm talking about the city's Academy Boulevard Corridor Great Streets recommendation to be presented to City Council on Monday during the Council's informal meeting at City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Ave.
Academy, between Maizeland Road and Drennan Road, has fallen victim to the success of the Powers Boulevard corridor in recent years. There are more boarded-up buildings than potholes along that stretch, it seems.
But residents, property and business owners got together to find ways to give the area new life, and they'll unveil their findings on Monday.
Among the alternatives examined by the study team were:
Transit options, including bus rapid transit, streetcar, light rail and personal rapid transit
Roadway configurations, including access options, frontage roads, and dedicated transit lanes
Bike lanes and sidewalk options
Here's what is being said about the initiative.
Councilman Bernie Herpin:
“Academy Boulevard was the place to be in the 1980s and early 1990s. It’s great to see an effort to revitalize this area. There are a lot of good things already happening in the corridor. The Lowe's stores coming to Citadel Crossing and a new lease on life for the former Longs Drugs in Rustic Hills North as an events center are just a few examples. These projects along with others that have been worked on for months will begin to turn Academy Boulevard into something special and will be a catalyst for future
Mayor Lionel Rivera:
“In 2007 we had business owners not happy with how the City handled issues on south Academy Boulevard. We held a meeting and listened, and that kicked off this project. In mid April I will be attending the Mayors Institute on City Design, where I will present this project to seven other mayors and experts in architecture, transit planning, and redevelopment from throughout the country. I will be getting
their feedback and will then provide a written report back to the City Council. So, not only will
we get citizen ideas on the project, but we will also have the benefit of input from national
experts as well. As a city, we need to put investments into this corridor to help the business
community revitalize it. We provide the infrastructure, leadership and vision, along with
national ideas from experts. This is important to me and to Bernie Herpin who represents this
district. We will work really hard to make sure this is a jewel in the city.”
Stephannie Finley, President, Governmental Affairs and Public Policy Division
of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce:
“The chamber is involved in the Academy Boulevard Corridor Great Streets project because this is an opportunity to generate an entrepreneurial spirit that can be a catalyst for other businesses. Our compliments to the City and all of you for what you’re doing along this corridor and to CH2M HILL for all you do to contribute to a successful region and city.”