The following is a look at the top stories in Pueblo West in 2020.
No. 1: COVID-19 pandemic
In Pueblo West, 2020 was the year of coronavirus concerns that changed everything in daily life and made new heroes for the community.
Frontline workers and medical workers became heroes in the fight against the virus, while grocery store workers saved the community from starvation. Since March there have been stoppages, home orders, outbreaks and quarantines in the community.
As COVID-19 pushed schools to teach online, forced restaurants and bars to do take-out businesses, and many employees worked from home, things like online meetings became the new normal. In Pueblo West, a local baker whose livelihood has been affected by coronavirus concerns – Brenda Huffman, owner of Foodhearts Custom Cakes – sewed more than 1,500 face masks that she gave to Parkview nurses and anyone else in need of extra protection.
Despite the closure of some businesses and the resulting economic downturn, many generous Pueblo West residents have come forward to raise funds for food baskets, clothing and toys, proving that even the darkest days could not tarnish the spirit of the community.
# 2: Pueblo West voters approve the first sales tax
Pueblo West voters approved the borough’s first sales tax on November 3 to fund the construction of a new fire station 2.
A total of 10,998 voters approved the measure, while 8,174 voters were against the measure. The tax is expected to generate between $ 1.8 million and $ 2 million annually through sunset on December 31, 2030.
Sales tax begins January 1st and results in a tax of 1 cent on every US dollar spent. The tax is not levied on food.
The new Fire Station 2 is being built in West McCulloch near the Katmando General Store to serve the southwest region of Pueblo West. Sales tax revenues are also used to hire firefighters to occupy the new station and purchase equipment.
The measure includes a provision to ensure accountability to a citizens’ oversight committee, which annually reviews and reports to the public on how the funds are being used.
# 3: Swallows Charter Academy opens a new school building valued at $ 20 million
Swallows Charter Academy opened their new kindergarten in an eighth grade building in a modern, ultra-modern building in August. The new school was made possible by a $ 19.8 million grant to Building Excellent Schools Today. This made Swallows the first charter school to receive a BEST scholarship.
The building offers some new amenities for the school’s 700 students and staff. These additions include a nurse’s office, conference room, state-of-the-art science lab, outdoor classroom, near-regular-size soccer field, and non-storage staff toilets.
The school also has a large playground and Colorado’s first climbing feature, the Crab Trap.
# 4: Parkview Medical Center Opens New Orthopedic Hospitals
Parkview Medical Center staff and local officials on November 6th laid the foundation stone for a $ 58 million orthopedic hospital in the location of its current emergency room in Pueblo West, 899 E. Industrial Blvd. placed.
The 30-bed hospital with an area of 60,000 square meters is being built by JE Dunn of Colorado Springs and will provide Pueblo West with a full-fledged medical campus and relieve the crowds in Parkview’s Pueblo Hospital. It is expected to open in April 2022.
# 5: The Pueblo West Metro District is concerned with community pool planning
A new water center was the focus of several meetings of the Pueblo West Metro District Board in 2020.
The district plans to build the water center on East Spaulding Avenue near the intersection with Purcell Boulevard, where the district has 21 lots totaling 89 acres.
A six-person water centers committee has detailed plans and the building is expected to be 15,000 to 17,000 square feet to accommodate two pools – one warm and one cool. The facility is likely to include a lazy river, slide and play area, lap swimming area, and space for competitive water sports from diving to water polo.
The district saved $ 430,000 in 2020 and allocated $ 432,000 to the water center construction project in 2021. The district’s contributions come from 30 percent of its marijuana excise tax revenue, as well as money from the Conservation Trust Fund.
The district also provided excess revenue of $ 758,914 as of 2019. These funds were the first excess revenue earmarked for the construction of a pool since Pueblo West voters agreed in 2016 that the district could withhold excess revenue from the taxpayer’s Bill of Rights for a water center.
An additional $ 1 million comes from voter-approved funding generated by an election campaign in Pueblo County in 2019. The total project budget was $ 2.62 million.
No. 6: The Pueblo West subway district is struggling with plans for a new civic center
The Pueblo West Metro District Board is hoping the fifth time is the stimulus when it comes to securing a new office building or civic center after dropping four different plans in 2020.
The board has been looking for a home since a weather event damaged its office building at 109 E. Industrial Blvd. in March 2019. The county offices were temporarily located at the San Isabel Electric Association headquarters at 781 E. Industrial Blvd. housed.
The offices are now divided between the rented space at 63 E. Spaulding and 356 E. McCulloch, and 23 public works workers continue to work in a county building at 280 E. McCulloch. Plans for a permanent home in the Hanson Medical Building at 109 E. Burlington, the construction of a new “stick” frame building on Spaulding Avenue near the planned water center, or the purchase of the Intellitec College building at 713 E. Spaulding Ave. are all failed the route.
A fourth, short-lived, $ 4.7 million plan to build a metal-framed community center to include road and road crew members currently housed at 280 E. McCulloch was also dropped after the Board had learned that zoning for commercial purposes at the Spaulding site would not allow materials for public works and storage of large equipment because they are adjacent to residential buildings.
By the end of 2020, the consensus among the board members was to consider the conversion and expansion of the current building for public works and to continue the idea of building a metal-framed community center on Spaulding. However, CEO Doug Proal said he wants to move a new civic center as the district is already working on a new fire station and water center.
The board has allocated just under $ 1.2 million for a new building. The district staff plan to apply for a grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to help cover project costs.
Chieftain and Pueblo West View reporter Tracy Harmon can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at twitter.com/tracywumps.