[Hpn] Homeless complex opposed by Colorado Springs residents task force FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Tue, 16 May 2000 21:16:59 -0700 (PDT)


http://newsfinder.arinet.com/fpweb/fp.dll/$stargeneral/htm/x_dv.htm/_ibyx/cg0302
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FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - May 15, 2000

NEIGHBORS OPPOSE HOMELESS COMPLEX

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ Weeks of negotiations between
organizers and neighbors of a proposed homeless social-service
complex in Colorado Springs have broken down, setting up what may
be a tough fight as the $6 million project inches toward a City
Council vote.

A coalition of nonprofit groups, led by the El Pomar Foundation
and the American Red Cross, wants to build a center consolidating
services for the city's homeless on a vacant piece of land owned by
Colorado Springs Utilities.

The building on the 3.7-acre site south of the Drake Power Plant
downtown. would include a shelter, soup kitchen, medical clinic and
other social services run by several agencies.

Once splintered over the project, residents of the small
neighborhood east of the site are now solidly against it. At a
public meeting Saturday On Saturday, they told organizers to look
for a new location.

``Our neighborhood does not want this shelter and this
conglomerated thing,'' said Edenna Hackos, who lives nearby.
``We've tried to be polite and kind, but that's the bottom line.''

Organizers have filed development plans with the city and need
approval from the Planning Commission and City Council to move
ahead.

A task force of residents has met almost weekly for the past
four months with city planners and project organizers to iron out
neighborhood concerns. The residents are worried about loitering,
crime, traffic and other problems they believe a large influx of
homeless people might bring.

This month, the seven-member group wrote a letter to the city
voicing strong opposition, saying, ``it appears this project has
been hurriedly put together with apparently little consideration
for the devastating impact'' it could have.

Rickie Stuart, a member of the task force, said residents who
once supported the project turned against it because organizers
``have added this and that'' to the planned center since it was
announced in December.

She said neighbors are most upset about the addition of an El
Paso County Health Department office that would offer testing for
HIV, AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.

Stuart said the only acceptable solution is a new site away from
any neighborhood. Tony Koren of the El Pomar Foundation said
Saturday that no other sites are being considered.

In the letter, neighbors outlined 37 steps they think should be
taken in the project goes through, including 24-hour off-duty
police patrols and a fence with an iron ornamental top. Thy also
said residents in a two-block area who don't want to stay should be
offered buyouts.

AP-WS-05-15-00 0400EDT
Received  Id AP100136EE3CC458 on May 15 2000 03:04

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