COLORADO SPRINGS – The southeast region of Colorado Springs is undergoing a major transformation in the next few years.
Just picture a community hub, the center of activity in the southeast area, located at the southeast corner of Hancock Expressway and South Academy Boulevard.
It’ll transform the Mission Trace Shopping Center and its businesses.
Nick Bohnen has been a manager at the Smoke Academy for about a year.
Lately, he hasn’t seen a lot of foot traffic.
“During the holidays and stuff it picks up but recently, real slow,” he said.
In fact, Bohnen used to bypass the area.
“Before I started working here again, I completely stopped coming to South Academy for any reason until I got the job here,” he explained.
“So it’d be nice if there was actually stuff to do here and around here.”
But change is coming.
A community hub will be taking over the empty 20-25,000 square foot lot at the Mission Trace Shopping Center.
“A place where people can go,” Chelsea Gaylord, the Economic Development Project Manager at the Colorado Springs Rise Coalition said.
“There’s been a lot of need for services in one area and a lot of opportunity for small local businesses that are here.”
It’s part of a three-year project involving the Rise Coalition, the non-profit Solid Rock CDC and the El Paso County Health Department.
The project recently got a boost in the form of a million-dollar grant from the Colorado Health Foundation.
“To identify this space as the home of a, a growing, evolving concept is really exciting,” Gaylord added.
The vision is to fill this space with businesses offering things like entertainment and transportation, as well as local non-profits helping residents.
“It’d be great to see local businesses have spots in here to really develop their concepts and build and to create an overall gathering space for the community,” Gaylord remarked.
Bohnen can’t wait to see the impact it’ll have on his business and his community.
“[The community hub will] pick up business and that’ll be better for me, better for this business, better for everybody around so i’m pretty excited.”
The stakeholders involved will be meeting on Monday to discuss how the space will be used.
The timeline for the entire project is about three years.