Campus relations with Cragmor neighborhood rocky, but improving

Feb. 2, 2015

Eleanor Skelton
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Some of the Cragmor neighbors over the last 50 years watched the campus grow from classes held in condemned houses on the bluffs to the current campus.

Tensions between UCCS and the surrounding neighborhoods increased over the last several years, like adolescent growing pains, but last year’s parking regulations and decreased partying seem to indicate an improvement.

Last September, the Gazette stated parking near University Hall as a continued problem in an article by Bill Vogrin. But problems with the neighborhoods five months later have cooled off, according to some current residents.

“They’ve had some get-togethers next door, but nothing that disturbed us,” resident Sanford Smith said.

Smith and his wife moved to Colorado Springs from Georgia two years ago. He used to live near Powers and Airport before relocating to Cragmor four months ago.

Smith now lives in the house on Acacia Drive previously occupied by Adam and Katie Garvert, interviewed by the Scribe regarding the Good Neighbors policy over the last two years (Sept. 3, 2012 and Sept 2, 2013).

The Garverts had expressed plans to move and raise their children in a different neighborhood due to the parking problem and loud college parties.

But Smith said the area surrounding the campus is quiet compared to others.

“There’s not a lot of hustle and bustle that would normally come with college towns. I’ve been in Chapel Hill [North Carolina] several years back, and that is busy. Understanding how that was, it’s not like that. I see students walk back and forth…but it’s nothing like it used to be there.”

Other locals expressed agreement.

“The situation has improved immensely,” Gwen Martin said. Martin has lived in her house since 1963.

“A car might park on the weekend, but they’re allowed to do that,” she added.

Before the city regulations limiting parking were put in place, Martin said parked cars blinded her view on both sides of her driveway, causing a traffic hazard when backing out.

“They were using my front yard as a party place at all hours of the night,” Martin said. “This past semester, I haven’t had any problems, not even a bottle broken. I used to come out in the morning and there would be broken glass all over my driveway.”

One current resident at the house on the corner of Meadow and Acacia, who asked to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, explained that he had ended the party scene and most of the college students had moved out. He explained the landlord started towing people who tried to park on the lot instead of the streets.

Others feel that the situation remains difficult.

“Students being students, you know if you can blame somebody else, go ahead because you didn’t get up 20 minutes ago like you should have,” said Edy Kline, who has lived off Meadow Lane since 1999. Her parents bought the house in 1968.

“I yell at them. There was a girl just the other day. I started to back out. And there was nobody coming [and] she walks right behind the truck, and is she looking at anything except her phone? No. Plus, she’s plugged in,” Kline said.

“Then she sees the truck out of the corner of her eye, and she goes right by. I rolled my window down and I said you need to look before you walk across driveways because we can’t always see you. And she’s like ‘what?’ And I said ‘walking around plugged in is not a good idea when you’re around traffic.’ I said ‘you need to stop and look when you cross driveways.’”

“If someday I back over one and it’s because [they’re distracted], I’ll probably get out and kick them to death if they’re not dead yet because they’re not little kids,” Kline added. “Stop and think people. It’s two or three tons headed toward you.”

Kline said Meadow has not had the parties and noise violations elsewhere in the neighborhood.

Students who can no longer park in the surrounding neighborhoods or the University Village shopping center utilize the free parking at Four Diamonds. But not all students are satisfied, due to shuttle lines and safety concerns.

Vivian Harmon, senior history major, transferred from Pikes Peak in 2013. She believes the university should add a stop at lot 580, the overflow lot off of Nevada, to the shuttle route.

“The overflow lot is not safe to park at in the evening or after dark because it has no lights to go to Four Diamonds to catch the bus and the trail is below the street so no one can even see you,” she said.