Critics of Colorado College’s proposed hockey arena are beginning to warm up to it now that the school committed to building an on-site parking garage.
Some attendees at the third community meeting on Robson Arena at the college Saturday even thanked the college for listening to their concerns and suggestions.
“I’m excited about the extension of the garage and am proud to see you all extending a good neighbor attitude,” said Near North End Vice President Angelic Bully. “It helps to see that you guys are taking heed to what we are saying — our concerns about parking, incoming traffic.”
The three-level parking structure with 300 to 350 spaces will be set back off Dale Street between Tejon Street and Nevada Avenue. The arena, which originally was situated where the garage will now be, encompasses the northern half of the block on Cache La Poudre Street. It is projected to seat between 3,000 and 3,650 people.
The college also plans to replace the tennis courts next to the El Pomar Fitness Center on the southwest side of campus with a parking lot. The tennis courts will move to an area owned by CC near Uintah Street and Glen Avenue.
The planning team estimates that 716 of the 1,158 needed spaces will be covered by campus lots and the garage. Privately owned lots that sign agreements with the college and street parking around the arena will supply the rest.
Others, though grateful that a parking garage is now part of the project, wanted another level to be added to minimize the number of cars in surrounding neighborhoods during games and other events.
Jane Morgan, who lives in the Old North End, noted 138 spots of the garage that could be taken up by arena employees. If a fourth level were added, she said, staff could park on the top level and still leave room for patrons.
With more floors comes more congestion, said Chris Lieber, principal at NES, the project architect and land planner.
“The challenge becomes the ingress and egress,” he said. “As the garage becomes bigger, it puts more pressure on traffic in that area.”
Game-day traffic could as much as quintuple the time it takes to reach Interstate 25 at Uintah from the proposed arena site, according to analysis by the project’s parking consultant, Todd Frisbie. Though other routes were found to be shorter, neighbors requested that CC find ways to optimize paying for parking at the garage and the lots to reduce delays.
Katie Cornelius also pointed out that a taller garage would expand the amount of blank wall facing the historic homes on Dale Street, a complaint many had voiced at previous meetings.
“Do you want a lower visible line, or two or three more layers of white space?” she said. “These are the things you need to remember.”
Another major change welcomed by some at Saturday’s meeting is the removal of a new natatorium that would have been adjacent to Robson Arena. CC will instead renovate the current natatorium on Cache La Poudre Street west of Cascade Avenue when the time comes.
The alterations to the design are a symbol that CC is willing to absorb community comments and adjust its plans accordingly, Lieber said.
“We have the chance, with the input we’ve received today, to shape and improve our plan just as you’ve seen with the addition of the garage and flipping the arena to the north side of the site.”
Twitter: @lizmforster Phone: 636-0193