When I moved to Colorado Springs more than 21 years ago, I began looking for a house and was told in short order, "Nothing south of Pikes Peak Avenue."
I heeded the warning and bought a home in the general vicinity of Austin Bluffs Parkway and Academy Boulevard. Everything was close in the busy Academy corridor: grocery stores, post office, restaurants, dry cleaner, car wash. Then, merchants started fleeing to Powers Boulevard, and Mall of the Bluffs, at Austin Bluffs and Academy, became largely an empty shell.
Several years ago, a developer bulldozed the mall and built a new King Soopers. It was a rebirth. Ace, Qdoba, Old Chicago, 24 Hour Fitness, Smash Burger, Jimmy John's and others have made the district thrive.
This is the kind of thing city officials have in mind for South Academy on a much larger scale. After all, improved commerce will bring more tax money to the city. But there are hindrances, including absentee owners, obtrusive electric transmission towers that parallel the roadway and large undeveloped parcels that make the corridor seem abandoned (story starts here).
Mayor Steve Bach seems committed to doing something. He chose Nor'Wood's vice president, Fred Vietch, to chair a committee that will report to him within two weeks.
Then it will be up to Bach and City Council to work some kind of magic, so that someone moving here five years from now won't be told, "Nothing south of Pikes Peak Avenue."