June 26, 2013 Updated: June 26, 2013 at 6:35 pm
Kum & Go, a chain with a growing presence in Colorado, plans to buy the Goodwill building on West Colorado Avenue to open a 5,000-square-foot convenience store and gas station - a proposal that has neighboring residents and business owners raising questions about safety, appearances and competition.
Ryan Tefertiller, senior planner for the city's Land Use Review Division, said Kum & Go has a conditional contract with Goodwill to purchase the property at 2309-2319 W. Colorado Ave., if its project is approved by city planners and council members.
Kum & Go plans to demolish all Goodwill buildings on the property to put up the convenience store and 10 dual-sided fuel pumps.
The city is holding a neighborhood meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Goodwill's administration room at 2320 W. Colorado Ave. to take comments from the public.
"I am expecting a pretty good attendance," Tefertiller said. "It is a very visible parcel, and there has been a lot of interest in what is going to happen."
The area is already zoned for commercial construction, so Kum & Go can build a convenience store on the property. But some neighbors hope to persuade the city to adopt building codes in that area that would force the company to design a building that blends with the neighborhood.
Critics of the project also say the Kum & Go could hurt existing convenience stores within the neighborhood. Four convenience stores already line West Colorado Avenue from 15th Street to 30th Street, said Welling Clark, president of the Organization of Westside Neighbors.
Clark said OWN opposes the convenience store's construction at the proposed location. The Kum & Go will not increase pedestrian traffic and tourism, or enhance other businesses or the surrounding residential area, he said.
"We don't see any thing that benefits Old Colorado City," he said.
But Kathy Ebbs, who has owned West Side Cleaners for the past decade, said she likes it better than what often happens when companies abandon older buildings.
"A bunch of vacant buildings would be worse than the Kum & Go," she said.
Goodwill plans to move its Old Colorado City operations to Hancock Expressway and South Academy Boulevard, a Goodwill worker said. The nonprofit is not closing its retail store on the northwest corner of West Colorado Avenue and North 23rd Street.
Old Colorado City resident Debbie Dickenson is glad that Goodwill is moving. She said she is tired of people waking her and her neighbors all night, every night, as they search through collection bins for clothes and other goods. She said the nonprofit also draws people to her neighborhood each day who throw trash on lawns while waiting for its daily auction.
Still, Dickenson is not convinced a 24-hour convenience store and fuel station will be better than Goodwill. She is worried about additional traffic on her street, light pollution from the building and signs, and the danger of gasoline pumps just 200 yards from her home.
"If there is a gas explosion," she said, "it could take my house out."
Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go opened its first Colorado Springs store in April 2012, and plans to have 20 to 25 by 2017. Company officials could not be reached for comment on the West Colorado Avenue store.
Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275.