By Debbie Kelly, The Gazette
If all goes as longtime Colorado Springs insurance agent Don Bates and his family envision, vacant land in a blighted area of southeast Colorado Springs could be developed into 250 single-family homes for low-income residents.
“It’ll be a community where people who are excluded from the market now will be able to qualify and have their own brand new home,” Bates told the board of Colorado Springs School District 11.
The seven-member board voted unanimously Wednesday night to approve an offer of $175,000 from Bates for a 22-acre site the district was gifted in January 2000 by another local family.
Bates intends to combine the D-11 property, off East Platte Avenue and Wooten Road, with 40 vacant acres he owns to the south.
Only about 6 acres of the D-11 land is suitable for development, he said. The remainder slopes to Sand Creek and, under his plan, would become part of the city’s trail system and groomed open space.
City planner Lonna Thelen said her office has not yet had any pre-application meetings for the proposal.
The project also likely would need clearance from Colorado Springs Airport officials, as a runway lies about 1 mile from the site. Director of Aviation Greg Phillips said the runway is the least busy of the airport’s three runways, is not used by airlines and is primarily used by the Air Force for C-130s and other aircraft.
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