MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. – As the first step in determining the feasibility of future use of the historic portion of the Hiawatha Gardens building, work began this week on demolishing the building’s non-historic portions.
The City of Manitou Springs has contracted with D2 Demo & Dirt to carry out the partial demolition to be paid for with Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority funds (PPRTA). Crews have installed construction fencing to keep the area safe and will initially work in the interior of the building to begin separating the approximately 6,800 sq. ft. of non-historic building additions from the 7,400 sq. ft. historic dancehall portion of the building.
According to the cities press release, parking operations at the site will be impacted for the duration of the six-week demolition project. Once the interior work is complete, the contractor will need to extend the work area to the north in order to remove the non-historic building elements, impacting several additional parking spots for a week. When completed, the partial demolition will result in the addition of up to 20 interim parking spaces for public use.
During this process, about 20 parking spaces will be blocked-off to allow for fencing around the property. For the weekend of 5/28-5/30, the contractor will be minimizing the amount of spaces blocked to allow for more parking during the Memorial Day weekend.
Once the partial demolition of the building is accomplished, a professional assessment of the historic dancehall portion’s structural integrity will be conducted, and potential financial implications will be analyzed. Once both determinations are complete, a decision will be made about whether to retain the 7,400 sq. ft. historic portion of the building. If it is to be retained, the Hiawatha Gardens Task Force will explore funding sources and, with the community’s help, develop a final recommendation to City Council for the building’s use.
In October 2020 the Manitou Springs City Council passed a resolution calling for the Task Force to develop a plan for utilizing historically significant portions of the building for transportation/mobility and community uses. The City conducted a community engagement process in 2018/2019 to gather community ideas about the Hiawatha Gardens property. Results from the process indicated a significant number local residents who participated preferred keeping the building for some type of community use.