NewsCovering Colorado


City seeks feedback on Senior Center plans

Neighboring businesses excluded from redevelopment proposals
Colorado Springs Senior Center Medium.jpeg
Posted at 7:44 PM, Oct 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-04 21:44:47-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — The City of Colorado Springs has big plans for its Senior Center. Administrators are working with architects and designers to create a facility that is bigger and better able to serve the growing population.

Ryan Trujillo, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Mayor's Office, said the redevelopment project will use $8 in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to pay for the redevelopment.

The building is roughly 60 years old. Trujillo said despite a more recent renovation, it needs to be updated.

"There's a significant backlog in maintenance needs, it's not as accessible as we would like," he said. "So, it's definitely has been a long time coming in terms of significant renovations or complete redevelopment."

He hopes to break ground on the project toward the end of next year, with construction wrapping up by the fall of 2024.

The center has served the community for the past 50 years. Members say it's a very social place to visit.

"There's just so much to do here," said Catherine Hopkins who joined earlier this year.

David Hughes has come to the senior center for several years. He enjoys the lunch provided by Silver Key Senior Services and dance lessons.

"I met my new girlfriend, Jenny Rumstein, dancing here," he said.

The city owns the Golf Acres property where the center is located, including the surrounding retail space. The center is run by the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region through its partnership with the city.

A design and architecture firm has put together four options to expand the center. Hopkins viewed those proposals at a meeting with Senior Center members earlier this year and agrees that more space will be needed in the future.

“This building is not going to be large enough to serve future generations, we’re growing.”

The redevelopment proposal does not include the small business owners who surround who lease space from the city. They were notified about the project and provided an end date for their current leases.

"We're all gonna have to move," said Mike Kelly, owner of Kelly's Golf Acres Optical Company.

He took over the optometry business from his father who started it in 1969. Kelly has leased his space from the city for about 8 years and said that moving a business is expensive.

"You have to pay out to have whatever you need done for your new place; signage, construction, deposits, whatever it takes," Kelly said. "So, that becomes a very, very expensive venture for a small business."

His biggest concern is losing his customer base. Many of the shops here cater to the senior population, and they refer their customer to one another.

Hughes is one of Kelly's customers and worries about the impact this project will have on the businesses.

"He's a great optometrist," Hughes said. "He and the chiropractor and the dentist are all moving their businesses."

Kelly found the lone open space in the Bonn Shopping Center about 5 minutes away by car. Like it has for apartments, rent for commercial property in Colorado Springs is also surging.

He worries some of the other business owners may not survive a move.

"It was very disheartening because we all do provide a lot of services for the senior community which is why everybody has grouped here in this area."

The city is collecting feedback on the project through an online survey. A public meeting about the redevelopment will be held Wednesday, October 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Senior Center, 1415 N. Hancock Avenue.

Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.