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Transportation services spreading in lower Ute Pass
If you live in the lower Ute Pass and need a ride into Woodland Park and even Colorado Springs or Denver, help is on the way.
Maggie Reed, the transportation manager for Teller Senior Coalition, announced the official kick-off for expanded services that would include Green Mountain Falls and the lower Ute Pass, starting on Nov. 1. She said rides would be offered one-day a week, and would mostly accommodate people who want to run errands and do shopping in Woodland Park. The service also extends to Cripple Creek.

The rides will occur on Wednesday from a transportation outlet in Green Mountain Falls on Ute Pass Avenue, across from the swimming pool. A flyer will be on display at transportation area that previously served as a stop for a commuter bus that once traveled between Colorado Springs and Green Mountain Falls and Woodland Park.

This is just the starting point, as the Senior Coalition plans to partner with other organizations to offer extended service into Colorado Springs and even Denver.

And even under one pending plan, slated to start in mid-November, a rider can hope onto a vehicle in Cripple Creek, travel all the way to Colorado Springs and Denver and then even take a plane to Phoenix, Arizona.

Reed asked the Green Mountain Falls Board of Trustees if they thought an expanded transportation service would be well received, especially if future services included Colorado Springs. She said the Senior Coalition wants to work with such groups as Silver Key, in offering more transportation throughout the region.

The transportation services offered through the Senior Coalition, which recently got a new vehicle, are opened to anyone regardless of their age. That same benefit, though, isn’t always available for other senior-oriented organizations.

Veteran trustee and former mayor Tyler Stevens replied that the extra transportation service could work, but it would require having consistent times and regular advertising and publicity.

Mayor Jane Newberry also added that these types of services have worked in the past. Transportation has become a big concern in the area, especially with the lack of any public transportation from local government agencies. This has forced certain non-profits to pick up the gaps.

The Teller Senior Coalition has done that and recently received a top award for one of the top rural transportation groups in the state.

Tourism boom and First Responders Update
Debbie Miller, president of the Greater Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce, gave an annual report before the Woodland Park City Council last week that touted many positive developments.. .

Miller spoke of the improvements made to the chamber’s approach to wooing visitors. She mentioned the importance of the Internet and how the chamber has addressed challenges in dealing with this form of media.

Furthermore, her report noted that tourism is up 8 percent, and merchants are reaping big financial benefits as a result of the increase.

Tourists from Kansas, Texas, Florida, and even international visitors topped the list of areas visitors came from in the last year. Miller also said that many people who visit, return and take up residency.

The council also addressed a plan to allow radio station KTLF to license an existing 90’ tower on Gold Hill for the purpose of broadcasting southern gospel music and hymns in the Woodland Park area. KTLF will be leasing the tower from the city for $100. This plan was approved unanimously.

Once the station is up and running you can tune in to 101.3 on the FM dial.

In other Woodland Park government news, Mayor Neil Levy spoke highly about the successful First Responders Banquet event for the Ute Pass Regional Ambulance District and Northeast Teller County Fire Protection District, held recently at the Charis Bible College, and co-sponsored by Andrew Wommacks Ministries.

The mayor said, “We had a good turnout, over 250 people, although there weren’t many from the community, I think most of them were from the college,” said Levy. That said, the event culminated with two checks for $27,000, each to the ambulance district and to NETCFPD. “After talking to the people from both of those agencies, they could not be more pleased with the event,” added the mayor.

Levy went on to say, “We are going to try and do the event again next year. At the end of the day I feel it was a great event and I was proud to be part of it.”

Aside from the event raising nearly $55,000, Charis Bible College also donated body armor to the Teller County Sheriff’s Dept., Woodland Park Police Dept., and Cripple Creek Police Dept. Each vest is valued at approximately $2,200. Each agency received 5 new, state of the art bullet proof vests.

Woodland Park Police Chief Miles DeYoung said, “It’s not just the armor, there were a few other things donated. There was a first aid emergency kit with life-saving items, a helmet, binoculars, safety glasses, gas masks. A lot of good stuff. It was a great event. I can’t say enough about it. It was a very positive event.”