Saturday, June 4, 2016
As the Old North End Neighborhood has gone to work to try to ameliorate problems created by the recent shift of Colorado Springs city buses to North Nevada Avenue, questions have been raised about the Old North End Neighborhood’s structure and authority. Here is a brief history of the organization’s major accomplishments over the past 59 years:
1955-1956: The organizers of the Old North End Neighborhood opposed (unsuccessfully) construction of a ten-stories-plus hospital building in the Old North End by Penrose Hospital.
1957: Following the Penrose Hospital struggle, the Old North End Neighborhood was chartered by the state of Colorado as a volunteer homeowners’ association serving the Old North End of Colorado Springs. The original name was the North End Homeowners’ Association.
1958-1975: Through its early years, the Old North End Neighborhood mainly fought zone changes of residential properties to commercial and multi-family uses. This ongoing tussle over zoning law enforcement became known as “The Battle of the Old North End.”
1976: At the behest of the Old North End Neighborhood, a traffic signal to protect children walking to Steele Elementary School was installed at North Nevada Avenue and East Del Norte Street. The pedestrian underpass for school children at that intersection was poorly maintained by the City of Colorado Springs, flooded during rain storms, and was poorly lighted. The school children were frightened of the underpass and many refused to use it. Shortly thereafter, pedestrian walk lights were installed, at the request of the Old North End Neighborhood, at traffic signals at the intersection of North Nevada Avenue and East Fontanero Street, which was also a walking way for Steele Elementary students. Both traffic signals were installed after children had been struck and injured by motor vehicles at the particular intersection.
1977: The Old North End Neighborhood successfully applied to the National Park
Service to become a National Register Historic District. It was the first residential historic district to be approved in Colorado Springs.
1978: A tree-planting program in Monument Valley Park was adopted and financed by the Old North End Neighborhood.
1979: The Old North End Neighborhood was one of the original homeowners’ associations joining with other associations to form CONO – the Council of Neighbors and Organizations. CONO is a citywide organization lobbying the Mayor and City Council on behalf of residential neighborhoods.
1980s: The Old North End Neighborhood provided the funds and the labor to plant trees to beautify the parking lot at Bon Shopping Center.
1990s: A Master Plan was drawn up for the Old North End and adopted by City Council. Under the terms of the plan, East Del Norte Street was vacated where it adjoins Steele Elementary School and Steele School Park was installed. The park included lots of green grass and a historic-looking wooden gazebo with a weathervane (in the shape of a whale) on top.
2000: Historic Preservation Zoning for the Old North End was adopted by the Colorado Springs City Council. Thereafter, changes to the street-side appearance of Old North End homes had to be approved by the Historic Preservation Board in order to maintain the historic appearance of the neighborhood.
2007: Historic-looking street lights were installed on North Tejon Street from East Uintah Street to East Madison Street.
2010: A book, Exploring the Old North End Neighborhood of Colorado Springs: A Guide to its History and Architecture, was written for and published by the Old North End Neighborhood. A portion of the cost of the book was paid by a grant from the Colorado historical society – History Colorado. At the time of the grant, a state history official described the Old North End as “the best organized neighborhood association in Colorado.”
2011: Historic-looking street-name signs were progressively installed at intersections throughout the Old North End. The standard white-on-green signs used throughout the United States were replaced with historic-looking black-on-white signs. “Old North End” identification signs in white-on-black were placed above the historic-looking street-name signs.
2013-2015: Historic-looking entryway signs to the Old North End were installed – two on North Nevada Avenue and one on North Wahsatch Avenue. The entryway signs were made of stone decorated with historic-looking iron work. In 2016 three more entryway signs were planned and in the works – two for North Cascade Avenue and one for North Wahsatch Avenue.
2016: The Old North End Neighborhood embarked on a major drive to reduce the traffic lanes on heavily traveled streets through the Old North End from two-lanes-in-each-direction to one-lane-in-each-direction. The program had been adopted by the City Traffic Engineering Department by June of 2016 but had not yet been implemented.