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City For Champions Has Potential To Change Colorado Springs' Reputation, Some Say

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“Can the proposed City for Champions tourism projects spur growth in Colorado Springs and along the Front Range well into the 21st century?”

Answer: Highly doubtful, but it will ‘grow’ the pocketbooks of several commercial developers. City for Champions has potential to change Colorado Springs' reputation, most definitely. For better or for worse?

The Gazette story refers to C4C and they list the “growth spurring” projects proposed.
“ They include four tourism-related projects: a 10,000-seat stadium and 3,000-seat indoor sports center, an Olympic museum, a new Air Force Academy visitors center and a sports medicine and performance center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.”

This 250 million dollar project sounds... fishy. Ten thousand seat stadium? I did some research, and the median attendance for B-level sports is 1500 people, and that is from people only 15 miles away. How is this going to bring in tourism, when we don't even have a team to play there? Sky Sox backed out of C4C when they reached out to their fans and saw the current stadium on the east end of town is their preference. So now the stadium is a "multi-use" stadium. Oh, and it would be directly under the air pollution from the power plant and on top of toxic waste. Yuck.

The Air Force Academy visitors center would be the SECOND one, the first being right near the actual base. This 2nd one would be many miles away from the actual Air Force Academy. A sports medicine and performance center refers to a proposal for UCCS. This may be the only project with some positive impact, however, this project was already announced by UCCS prior to C4C. The inclusion with C4C is confusing. There are so many unanswered questions: does it depend on C4C happening or not? Last, the Olympic museum would not be supported by the IOC at all. There are already official museums in other locations in the US. What is the use of all of these projects, when we know tourism won't be impacted much by these? -Crony capitalism in the name of "growth."

“The Colorado Economic Development Commission in December awarded an estimated $120.5 million over 30 years to help finance part of the City for Champions (C4C) projects.”

Note that the 120.5 million would ONLY be to finance it. City Council (who must sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to know the details) held a city hall on the issue a few weeks ago- and a majority of people came out against C4C. Mayor Steve Bach promised both transparency and to “reduce the overall cost of government” during his campaign. Has he forgotten his promise? He speaks about this project like it IS happening, and has never acknowledged the necessity of letting people vote on this issue.

How does this work? The funds are in essence skimmed off the top of the city’s sales tax revenue before it hits the general fund thereby bypassing TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights) and to Mayor Bach- a right to a vote. Using a finance method called “Tax Increment Financing” or simply TIF, the City of Colorado Springs would take projected future gains of that sales tax revenue before it is counted in the general fund to pay down the city’s debt for these projects. A loophole found in TABOR that could shrink the general fund if projected figures do not meet the expected growth rate. This concerns residents for a variety of reasons but most importantly, how this will affect basic city services in years of low of negative growth.

The scariest thing is that two cities, one in West Virginia and one in California, have tried nearly the exact same thing as C4C. The result? Bankruptcy and having to tear down the stadium due to lack of funds to power it.
This is a classic example of blind growth with no purpose. C4C? - Not for me.

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  • Dave Gardner
    Dave Gardner Thursday, 13 March 2014

    I think the real story here is the pro-growth assumptions driving this project - a desire to have a "world-class" city, growing tax revenue, more tourists, more jobs, more people attracted to live in this location, and the thinking that pouring concrete represents progress.

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  • Guest
    Brian Sanderson Wednesday, 02 April 2014

    Another vanity project... It all started with Vespasian and his Colosseum. That was almost 2000 years ago. Perhaps, one day, civilization will make some real progress.

    Of course, the Romans loved their blood sports. Vespasian used a urine tax (and plunder from the Jewish Temple) to fund his vanity projects. Mayor Bach seems intent to carry forward the long tradition of taxation to fund vainglory. (At least he doesn't seem to have military ambitions?). The same sort of nonsense goes on every place I've lived (that's a lot of places).

    I wonder what the people of Colorado Springs really want? What next, Gladiators?

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