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Frontier won't build facility here


Airline's hard times lead to change in plans

Frontier Airlines has decided not to build a heavy maintenance facility at the Colorado Springs Airport after all.

The planned $25 million facility, once considered a boon for the Springs economy, had been promised substantial subsidizing from the city. It was put on hold, then cancelled, as Frontier fell on bad financial times. The airline is emerging from bankruptcy.

The change does not affect Frontier's air service in Colorado Springs. JAS

Bittersweet praise for Clark

It hasn't been a happy year for El Paso County commissioners, who endured multiple rounds of budget cuts before seeing a proposed sales tax measure to even things out fail Nov. 4. Two days after the election, commissioners looked at ways to balance their 2009 budget, authorizing as a first step the elimination of 34 positions by year's end.

In spite of the gloom, Commissioner Sallie Clark had reason to smile as she was named "Elected Official of the Year" by the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. Presenting the award, Chamber Governmental Affairs and Public Policy President Stephannie Finley called Clark a "tireless fighter."

Finley and Clark both fought for the sales tax measure known as the Safer Community Initiative, which would have provided millions each year to regional public safety and health agencies. It failed 60-40. AL

TOPS to buy Corral Bluffs

The Corral Bluffs saga has ended.

On Monday, City Council approved using $1 million from the city's Trails, Open Space and Parks 1-cent sales tax (dedicated revenue not available for other expenditures) to purchase more than 522 acres of the eastern property known as Corral Bluffs.

That means the area, known for its dramatic canyons, rock formations and archeological wealth, will become open space. TOPS plans to close on the property Nov. 25. Scientists will then survey the area to decide how the public can use the land without damaging its resources. The community will help draft a master plan to include new trails. The process could take two years, but guided tours will be available in the meantime.

Corral Bluffs has been considered an ideal spot for a new park since the 1990s. El Paso County nearly purchased the land for use as a motorcycle park earlier this year, but that plan sparked controversy because of the area's delicate environment and fossils.

Dan Cleveland, executive director of the nonprofit Trails and Open Space Coalition, told Council it was important to provide open space in the east, since so much has been bought in the western part of the city. JAS

City uses eminent domain

For two years, the city and the owner of a shopping center at Woodmen Road and Academy Boulevard have been wrangling over two acres of land, in a cordial fashion. But on Monday, things got ugly: Nasty exchanges between Council members. Speakers being told to keep on subject or get away from the podium. Slights.

City councilors, fed up with delays to their plan to add an above-grade interchange at the intersection, decided by a 5-3 vote to use eminent domain to seize the property though many had hoped the issue would be resolved before it went to court.

The owner of the shopping center had resisted selling, he said, because access to the center would be inadequate and could force his anchor store, a King Soopers, out of business. City staffers said they had made many concessions, including agreeing to build a road that leads to the center. The shopping center owner had wanted the city to build a second road to the center, at an added cost of $4.6 million. JAS

A different billboard message

Religious billboards are nothing new, but a collection of Freethinker and atheist groups is trying to reach out to like-minded folks with signs carrying messages like, "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."

Ten signs are scheduled to go up in Denver, and one in Colorado Springs, next week. A 12th was planned in the Greeley-Fort Collins area, according to the group's Web site,, but the billboard company in that area declined to carry the message.

The signs are scheduled to stay up four weeks beginning Nov. 17, with the goal of countering religious advertising during the holiday season. AL

All aboard the Ute

Not all the news is bad for bus riders.

While the city will slice 23,000 hours of bus service in 2009, it just added the Ute Pass Express along U.S. Highway 24, funding the new service with a two-year federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant.

The Ute Pass Express runs Monday through Friday from the early morning through the evening. It stops at the downtown Colorado Springs bus terminal, the I-25 and Tejon Street Park-n-Ride, Manitou Springs, Cascade, Green Mountain Falls, and the Woodland Park Park-n-Ride. A one-way ticket is $4, or $2 for seniors and students. Those traveling to or from Cascade can ride for $2.50. Discounted 40-ride, 20-ride and 10-ride packages are available.

Janice "Zisa" Moglen got a chance to ride one of the first buses on Nov. 10. On the way up she was the only passenger, and says she enjoyed the "chaffered limo" service. She took the next bus down and was joined by several others, leading her to believe that the service will catch on quickly.

"It's a much-needed and welcome addition," she says.

For tickets, call 385-RIDE (7433). JAS

Compiled by Anthony Lane and J. Adrian Stanley.

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