“I keep hearing that we are having a boom in the home building market,” wrote reader Sharon Brown. “Is this due to the homes being rebuilt from the Waldo Canyon Fire or is there really an overall increase in home building?”

Sharon, the answer is that construction is slowly turning around. In a Dec. 8 story, Gazette business writer Rich laden reported that “Home construction in Colorado Springs’ fire-ravaged Mountain Shadows neighborhood has given a slight boost to homebuilding in the Pikes Peak region this year, but isn’t the main factor in the industry’s recovery.

A closer look at Regional Building records shows rebuilding efforts in Mountain Shadows — where nearly 350 homes were destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire in June — are having an impact on the overall numbers, but it’s minimal:

Through November, 2,065 building permits were issued for construction of single-family, detached homes in El Paso County, Regional Building Department records show.

Of that number, 58 single-family permits were issued for homes in Mountain Shadows — 2.8 percent of the total through November, records show.”

Reader Bill Guman wondered why the county parking garage cannot accept credit cards. Dave Rose, public information officer for El Paso County, said change may come in 2013.

In an email, Rose wrote that “ The county looked at the possibility of credit card access several years ago but at that time county leadership decided that cost of the equipment and the fees for handling credit card transactions would make it more expensive to park and they did not move forward. Equipment costs and processing fees are lower now than they were several years ago so the county plans to take another look at credit card payments for parking this year.”

Rose noted the county has three parking structures: “The most heavily used by the public is located at Citizens Service Center on Garden of the Gods Road. There is no charge to the public. The County Parking structure at Sawatch and Vermijo provides parking for events at Pikes Peak Center, the Courts and downtown. The County Parking structure at Costilla and Tejon is convenient for people conducting business at the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, Public Trustee’s Office, the Courts and businesses in the southern part of downtown.”

Hear Barry Noreen on KRDO NewsRadio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM at 6:35 a.m. Fridays. Contact him at 636-0363 or barry.noreen@gazette.com.