After reviewing the results of an economic impact study that shows how much the USOC contributes to the city, it might be time to forgive and forget.
Springs residents have had a rocky relationship with the USOC over the past few years, and for good reason.
Colorado Springs began courting the USOC in the late 1970s, and the organization, which oversees all U.S. Olympic activity, moved to the city in 1977.
Everybody was happy.
The USOC quickly established itself at the foot of Pikes Peak, and Olympic athletes loved training here.
The city, in turn, did what it could to leverage the relationship, promoting itself as home to the USOC, which delivered a certain cache and helped the Springs raise its profile.
It was an exciting new relationship full of promise.
But then something rocked the boat.
A few years ago, the USOC hinted that it might leave Colorado Springs for a bigger, bustling city where a shiny new building would be built for it. Fearful of losing the organization, Colorado Springs made a desperate attempt to keep it here.
The city ponied up $50 million for a new USOC HQ by putting up its police headquarters and a new fire station as collateral.
Understandably, a lot of unhappiness, including voter unrest, ensued.. After all, that’s a pretty penny to pay for a building, and if the city ever defaults on those loans, it loses the police and fire property.
In hopes of underscoring its many contributions to the city and righting its reputation, the USOC commissioned a nationally esteemed accounting firm to perform a study of its economic impact.
According to the study, Olympic organizations and businesses added $215 million into the local economy and employed more than 2,100 people last year.
The USOC and Olympic National Governing Bodies’ 719 employees contribute about $1.4 million in local tax revenue and $1.15 million in local property taxes.
Also, the USOC drew more than 13,000 athletes and staff to the city, which provided an additional $15 million to the local economy.
With numbers like those, it’s easy to see that the USOC has, indeed, been contributing to the relationship with Colorado Springs.
So maybe, just maybe, it’s time to let go of the acrimony and get the city’s relationship with the USOC back on track.