Folks in Widefield, an unincorporated area south of Colorado Springs, were shocked to learn that 5.4-acre Sertoma Park is actually private property and slated for development.
The land has been vacant since the neighborhood was built in 1969-70 and some, like Joe Berkhoff, grew up playing on the property. Here are a couple views of the property, taken from www.GoogleEarth.com.
Over the years, ownership of the property passed from the original neighborhood developer, Widefield Homes, to El Paso County to the Sertoma Club and eventually ended up with Widefield School District 3. The district sold it as surplus in July 2006 for $50,000.
Neighbors are upset at the low price and the way it was sold, without a formal bidding process.
And they are really upset that developer Ronald Hall wants to build a 72-unit senior living center on the land. For the past decade, Hall has been dedicated to creating affordable housing in the Colorado Springs area and has worked with the Rocky Mountain Community Land Trust. He is committed to using the land to helping the less fortunate either by building the senior housing or by creating a low-income housing neighborhood.
Hall believes the neighborhood setting is perfect for seniors — surrounded by a quiet neighborhood where older people can spend their final years before making the transition to a nursing home.. He intends to retain ownership of the facility.
Here is a look at his plans. Essentially, it would be a long “V” shaped building. The first floor would be 42 assisted-living units and the bottom floor would be 30 one- and two-bedroom units to be sold for independent living. Each would have a garage. He plans to offer four different floorplans.
The project requires approval from the El Paso County Planning Commission. If it is rejected, Hall already has plans drawn for a 25-house subdivision. He would partner with the Rocky Mountain Community Land Trust to ensure the homes were sold to low-income buyers. Here is how the neighborhood might look.