County board candidates, potholes, a new police substation, and more 


County candidates lining up

The 2016 race for three Board of County Commissioners seats is heating up. With Amy Lathen (District 2), Sallie Clark (District 3) and Dennis Hisey (District 4) term-limited, the 2016 field is wide open.

Sherrie Gibson and Mark Waller have announced for District 2. Alex Johnson, Susan Payne and Tyler Stevens are running for District 3. Marsha Brewer, Longinos Gonzalez, Joan Lucia-Treese, Elizabeth Rosenbaum and Scott Turner have announced for District 4. All are Republicans except Rosenbaum, a Democrat.

Some candidates may be recognizable because they have held or run for public office. Waller, former Republican leader of the state House, unsuccessfully ran for attorney general in 2014. Stevens was mayor of Green Mountain Falls from 2002-2012 and still is mayor pro-tem. Gonzalez ran for City Council in April. — JAS

Rough roads

Colorado Springs ranks 24th on the dubious list of cities with populations of 500,000 and greater that pose the highest expense risk to motorists for bumpy roads, according to TRIP, a national transportation research group.

The city seized on the ranking to disseminate information on the city ballot measure proposed for the Nov. 3 election, asking voters to approve a .62-of-a-cent sales tax hike to fund road repairs. The tax would raise about $50 million a year.

Although the ranking stated motorists here pay $723 a year in additional vehicle wear and operating costs because of poor road conditions, the city did not make the top 25 list of cities with the worst road conditions. San Francisco is tops at 74 percent of its roads being rated poor. The Denver/Aurora area scored 21st with 43 percent, and last place, or 25th, is held by New Orleans, with 42 percent.

Carolyn Kerry with TRIP says its study, based on 2013 data reported to the Federal Highway Administration by localities, shows 41 percent of Colorado Springs roads are rated poor. Roads included in the study are interstates, highways, expressways and arterials, but not collector and residential streets. — PZ

More room for cops

City Council is expected to sign off on paying $760,000 for 8.69 acres of land upon which to build a new Sand Creek police substation. The new site, on Academy Park Loop, is about a half-mile north of the current site at 4125 Center Park Drive.

If the deal goes through, the landowner, 123 Cascade Associates LLC, would donate a 1.88-acre parcel adjacent to the larger tract. Police Chief Pete Carey told Council on Monday the 17,500-square-foot existing station, built in 1988, is too small for the growing number of employees assigned there, now about 150. The site also has drainage problems, he said.

While money to buy the land is in this year's budget, construction costs aren't. Council President Merv Bennett says the city apparently has no plan for how it will use the existing Sand Creek station after a new one is built. "I have not heard what will happen" with the current Sand Creek site, Bennett tells the Indy via email.

Carey told Council he'll ask for money for design in the 2016 budget and hopes construction costs will be budgeted in 2017. Carey said he expected the city to sell the existing station for between $1 million and $2 million, which could offset construction costs of the new station. The County Assessor's Office values the building at $2.4 million. — PZ

Bathing in light

If you can't kill it, try to hide it. That is apparently the idea behind a movement by the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region to drape the Martin Drake Power Plant in color. The idea got the green light last week from the Colorado Springs Utilities Board, comprised of City Council members, a majority of whom support running the coal-fired plant for years to come to keep electric rates low.

COPPeR's idea comes from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where old steel stacks are bathed in vibrant color. — PZ

Charge for burning Rebel flag

Patricia Cameron, 32, was charged with 4th Degree Arson after taking part in the burning of a Confederate flag in Manitou Springs' Soda Springs Park. On July 4, Cameron was part of a group that gathered to ignite the flag in a barbecue grill. Manitou police said the fire posed a danger to others. Police have contacted Cameron and one other party, but are seeking a third person. — JAS

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