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‘A little bigger and a little better’: Construction set to start as Colorado Springs LGBTQ bar seeks to reopen

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) – Nearly six months after a fire forced several businesses to shut their doors, a local LGBTQ bar is starting construction on their new location and is looking to reopen by the end of the year.

Icons was among several businesses impacted by a fire near Bijou and Tejon in December. As they regrouped, the lease to their business was terminated, forcing them to find somewhere new to go.

Earlier this year, they were among several businesses who were chosen to receive a grant from the city.

Since then, the owners of Icons, Josh Franklin and John Wolfe, announced their effort to reopen, holding pop-up fundraisers and supporting their efforts, and their employees, through a GoFundMe.

Last week, they announced that they closed the deal on their new building, which is only a block away from their last one. The location, they said, was important to them.

“I think that the Downtown community, especially, that Ions was such a staple, so they are really feeling, we are really feeling, the absence… of Icons in the Downtown community,” Franklin said.

Icons is one of two LGBTQ-focused venues in Colorado Springs, with the other being The Q in the Satellite Hotel. They are, however, the only LGBTQ-focused venue in the Downtown area, and the owners said that, specifically, is an area that needs a place like theirs.

“We always say the more the merrier,” said Wolfe. “You know, having options in our community is important and having places in different parts of the city is important.”

11 News was the first to see the inside of the new venue a week before construction is set to start. The owners said a nonprofit will be painting a mural on the side of their building as they start tearing down the walls inside.

In the meantime, the owners had the chance to meet one of their neighbors. Andria Livingston owns Eden Salon and Barbershop next door. She said she works to provide a safe and inclusive space and looks forward to Icons moving in next door.

“Because everybody needs to feel accepted and loved, and that’s what this community is about,” she said.

She said she sees the increased support for the LGBTQ community in the Downtown area, making it the perfect spot for a place like Icons.

“I’m so happy that people are, you know, raising their vibrations and their consciousness and really understanding we are all in this together,” Livingston said.

Franklin and Wolfe said the support they’ve gotten since their closure, which includes a donation from Gloria Estefan, has shown them how much the community needs a space like theirs.

‘And I think that the allies of Colorado Springs are so eager to support this community,” Franklin said, “and this is a place where you really can come show your support and be included in this beautiful community that we’ve sort of given a home to.”

Franklin is originally from Colorado Springs, living in the city in the 1990s when Colorado was known as the “Hate State.” He said things have come a long way since then. But, he said, places like Icons still have roles to play in supporting the community as a whole.

“This is a vastly different city than it was in the ‘90s when I went to high school,” Franklin said,, “so, I’d like to think that it’s night and day, and it feels like that sometimes, and other times, it feels like we’ve got a lot of work to do still.”

And the owners said the fact they are able to reopen in their new building is a testament to that progress.

“It’s been so heartwarming and overwhelming and made us realize how important Icons is to the community,” they said.

Construction is set to start next week, and Icons is eyeing a reopen date close to the beginning of fall.


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