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Springs Rescue Mission moves closer to creation of homeless services hub

November 11, 2015 Updated: November 11, 2015 at 9:29 pm
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photo - Springs Rescue Mission off West Las Vegas Street, west of Tejon Street, is looking to create a massive homeless services hub.  Image via Google Maps.
Springs Rescue Mission off West Las Vegas Street, west of Tejon Street, is looking to create a massive homeless services hub. Image via Google Maps. 

The Springs Rescue Mission moved one step closer this week to creating a massive homeless services hub.

The nonprofit submitted an application to Colorado Springs city planners on Monday offering its most detailed vision yet for the 9-acre campus off West Las Vegas Street, west of Tejon Street.

"We have a very tight schedule," said Larry Yonker, the nonprofit's president and chief executive. "But ... all the city and all the people are working hard to get this thing going."

Construction should take place in two phases - the first being completed in October, Yonker said.

During the first phase, four buildings owned by the nonprofit will be converted into two, 11,000-square-foot facilities. The southern facility will host a 150-bed, year-round shelter. To the north will be a day center complete with showers, laundry facilities and case management services. A courtyard will separate the two.

That phase will include construction of a 6,000-square-foot building for facilities maintenance equipment and social enterprise programs.

The second phase, expected to be completed in 2017, includes construction of a 10,500-square-foot kitchen and dining area to host up to 200 people. A 4,025-square-foot welcome center and storage space for clients is also planned.

The project, designed by Colorado Springs-based RTA Architects, is expected to cost $13.8 million, Yonker said. Some of that will be used to finance recent property acquisitions that expanded the campus to nine acres.

Before breaking ground, the organization must receive a conditional-use permit and permission to build in a way different from the city's downtown development code. A meeting before the city's Downtown Review Board has not been scheduled, though it may happen in January, said Ryan Tefertiller, planning manager for the city.

The application comes as the nonprofit awaits word from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on a considerable hurdle to the campus being completed: Floodplain revisions slowed by red tape.

The campus sits on a floodplain, but FEMA is using updated technology to revise its maps. The most recent drafts show the campus out of the floodplain, but those changes likely won't be finalized until 2017. It would be nearly impossible to use government funding to help pay for the project if those changes do not happen sooner.

The city's first attempt to hasten floodplain revisions failed this summer because the city included too much land in its original Letter of Map Revision to FEMA. That letter included a huge swath of west Colorado Springs.

The city submitted its latest letter to FEMA on Nov. 2, and it only included the Springs Rescue Mission's property off Las Vegas Street.

FEMA has about three months to respond.

Yonker was optimistic this week that FEMA would fast track the revisions. But he added that the project could proceed even if the letter is denied once more, due in part to greater reliance on private funding.

"We're going forward," he said.

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