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Colorado Springs streetcar group plans to make bid on property

February 12, 2014 Updated: February 12, 2014 at 6:15 am
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A nonprofit group that wants to put trolleys on Colorado Springs streets is nearing a deadline to acquire downtown property for a museum, offices, storage and maintenance.

The Pikes Peak Historical Street Railway Foundation, which owns the rights to put streetcars in the city, will submit a bid for a large parcel of land by Friday.

"We're going to try to finalize an agreement with the seller," said Dave Lippincott, president of the foundation. "He wants us to make a bid on it."

The foundation is missing a key ingredient, however. It doesn't have enough money.

"If we are successful in negotiating a satisfactory price, we would be asking for six months in order to raise the funds to close, but with a nominal amount, maybe 10 percent of the purchase price as a down payment to hold it for that period of time," Lippincott said.

The site, which Lippincott declined to identify, is important for the foundation because it is the last one large enough in the downtown area and is well-suited for its needs, Lippincott said.

The group makes its home now at 2333 Steele Drive, just south of Fillmore Street, where it has offices, storage for trolleys, a maintenance area to restore the cars and a small streetcar museum.

It's an all-volunteer effort and funds come from memberships, museum donations and small, locally funded grants.

The foundation's budget is about $3,000 per month, but it has no money set aside for a large purchase. "Funding is the major issue," Lippincott said.

Meantime, the foundation continues to acquire streetcars, the latest a batch donated from the RTD in Denver, which included a Mack bus.

"RTD in Denver has given us six historic vehicles," he said, of which one has been delivered.

The city's proposed City for Champions project has raised hope for streetcar supporters.

Although it's not a done deal, the $250 million project includes four venues: an Olympic museum, a sports and event center, a university sports medicine center and a visitors center for the Air Force Academy.

Lippincott said a streetcar system would help boost tourism and ease parking problems.

"I'm glad to see it happening," he said. "I believe that what we hope to do on the east side of downtown will complement what they are doing on the west side. We have had some indication from property owners that, yes, they would like to see a streetcar system serve their properties."

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