West side vs. downtown

Look, I have a lot of ambivalence about the west side. On the one hand, I can appreciate its history as a rough and wild gold-rush town, saloons and brothels and gunfights. Spitting distance to the more genteel and dowdy Colorado Springs proper. Yeah, I can get behind that. I can also get behind the beautiful Victorians and mountain views.

And in a way, I can even appreciate its fierce independent streak, but that means chain-link fences. It also means that property owners are free to do whatever they want, which includes barking pit bulls; cars in the yard; trampolines; additions to buildings that would be an insult to even the roughest turn-of-the-century pioneer. Oh, and that couch and broken refrigerator? Just put those right there on the porch.

History is a hard thing to manage. What’s left of it in OCC is threatened, and if nobody comes along to save it, it’ll be gone. But it takes dedication (and a good deal of money). And the bottom line is that the people who live there really probably don’t mind that large sections have become trashy and disgusting. You can’t force people to care about historic preservation.

So we waffle. Sometimes we think: Look at these beautiful homes! We should live here. Then in the next block, it feels like the Ozarks (and I don’t mean that in a good way). Call me a snob. Fine. Try asking Adrienne about chain-link fences, and you’ll see just how reasonable I am.

Downtown Colorado Springs is in a little better position for some reason. I guess it’s always been this way: OCC has always been a little rougher around the edges than COS. Downtown Colorado Springs seems vibrant and healthy, while OCC is more touristy. But OCC has a more neighborhood feel to it. They each have their allures and drawbacks.

Still, the west side calls. The gorgeous old homes. Maybe someday we’ll be true capital-w West-siders. For now, though, we stay downtown.