Traders, residents, tourists adapt to large infrastructure projects in Manitou Springs

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MANITOU SPRINGS, Colorado (KRDO) – The past decade has been hectic in Manitou Springs, with a major conflagration, flooding, the COVID-19 pandemic, and now two major infrastructure projects during the busy summer season.

The MAPS improvement project began last fall to upgrade the west end of Manitou Avenue from Park Avenue to Serpentine Drive.

Upgrades include new curbs, median strips, road renewal, underground overhead lines, and the installation of sidewalks and ramps that meet federal disability standards.

“I would say the main impact is parking,” said local resident Robert Hallam. “At first there aren’t many parking spaces, and then the construction crews park their heavy vehicles and sometimes block us.”

The project will cost nearly $ 4 million, largely funded by federal funds and partially funded by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority’s sales tax.

However, the improvements are accompanied by dust, construction sites, traffic jams, noise and sales lost by some dealers due to difficult access for customers.

“Our sales are down 75% year over year and that’s worse than what we lost to COVID last year,” said Denny Stockfeld-Strong, manager at Skye Candle Company. “We had to close temporarily and only sell online. The timing could have been better and we don’t get good communication from the city. “

However, some business owners said the construction didn’t affect them very much as it may scare off local customers but not deter tourists from coming in.

A city spokesman said Friday that officials are trying to complete the work as quickly as possible and communicate with traders and residents as best they can.

Another project is the partial demolition of the Hiawatha Gardens complex along Fountain Creek east of City Hall. The city is tearing down extensions to the original dance hall, which were built between 1921 and 1955 and have become structurally unstable over the years.

Courtesy: City of Manitou Springs

The city is keeping the dance hall built in 1900 and has formed a task force to determine its best future use. Debris was recently removed and the flood protection measures completed.

Courtesy: City of Manitou Springs

One option often recommended by the public is to convert the facility into a “mobility hub” for local transport, parking, for cyclists and pedestrians.

The task force expects a final recommendation to the city council in autumn.

The PPRTA tax is funding the $ 175,000 cost of the partial demolition.

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