Following a firestorm of criticism and a grassroots effort to stop the sale, the Kum & Go convenience store chain has canceled its plans to purchase the Discover Goodwill property in Old Colorado City between 23rd Street and 24th Street.
The company originally agreed to purchase the property to build one of its large gas station and convenience store locations on the 2.3-acre site on the south side of Colorado Avenue.
But Westsiders organized, complained to the city Planning Commission and sent many letters to area media saying that the convenience store didn’t fit in with the historic nature of Old Colorado City.
The company listened, and Wednesday morning announced that it was terminating the contract to “give the city and Goodwill an opportunity to find a buyer who is a better fit for preserving and enhancing Old Colorado City’s historic atmosphere.”
“We appreciate the input we received from the neighbors and community leaders about this project,” said Kolby Jones, real estate development representative for Kum & Go. “We value our partnership with Goodwill, and we hope that a suitable buyer will be found quickly.”
For its part, Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado says it will consider its options, based on the vast amount of feedback its received from Westside residents.
“They haven’t been shy about their opinions,” said Goodwill spokesman Bradd Hafer. “And their suggestions have been all over the map, really run the gamut from retail to hospitality to parks.”
But Hafer says Goodwill needs more than wishes; it needs a plan backed with money.
“We’ve been on the Westside for 40 years, and we understand our neighbors,” he said. “We know they’re proud of the historic nature of Old Colorado City. But we need people to have a plan that includes financial backing before they even come to the table. We have a building that we need to repurpose or sell.”
What won’t go there is Kum & Go. The company says it will continue its other plans for Colorado Springs, where it has already opened 10 locations during the past 15 months. Each of the new convenience stores has been constructed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, and each partners with Community Intersections to provide recycling opportunities at the pump for customers and to create jobs for adults with disabilities. One of its planned locations, on 21st Street south of U.S. Highway 24, is less than a mile from the aborted Old Colorado City site.