There is a 109-year-old house on North Weber Street near Dale Street that’s falling down. The doors and windows are all blocked off by metal grates. The roof is falling apart and the yard is overgrown with weeds.
Colorado College bought this property back in February and is planning to raze the house and other structures in the backyard in order to pave a parking lot.
"Many of the neighbors would like us to have less parking on the street, more off-street parking and were trying to create it here," explained Robert Moore, Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration for the college.
He explained that the college owns the next three houses north of here. They want to make parking lot available to people who live in those units.
"We have visitors who come for a year, and so some of them live here. we have some students who live here," Moore said. "So, it’s a variety of housing."
He said the lot will also be used by contract employees at the college who currently park along the streets.
The parking lot will border the backyard of another homeowner that we’ll call Carrie. She didn’t want to be identified because "I don’t want to shoot my mouth off in public."
Carrie has lived in her home for decades and watched as the college steadily acquired several properties around her. She does not like this redevelopment idea and said so in a letter to the City Planning office.
She concerned that the mature trees on the property will be removed and worries that lights installed for the parking lot will be disruptively bright.
"We’re also concerned about the additional traffic through the neighborhood, the people traffic and the vehicle traffic," she said.
But there’s more to the story. This block is part of a Historic Preservation District and Carrie said two buildings on that property have historic significance.
"One of them housed the workers who built all of the beautiful homes on the block, and the other one across from that was their workshop where they made, among other things, the beautiful interior trim work," she said.
Those buildings appear to be in just as bad of shape as the main home. Carrie hoped the previous owner would have tried to restore them, but that didn’t happen.
Her biggest concern is how the parking lot might be used in the future. Colorado College’s 2015 Master Plan calls for the development of a new ice arena and swimming pool on the block immediately west of where she lives.
"That the block is going to turn into a large parking lot for the new ice rink, that’s probably a serious concern," she said.
Moore told the parking lot could potentially be used by people visiting the ice arena in the future, but that’s not the primary purpose they have in mind.
"The practice arena is years away so we would use it in the meantime for people who live and work at the college," Moore said.
The Colorado Springs Planning and Development office will hold a hearing soon over the parking lot development. Moore hopes to begin demolition and construction later this summer.