2011 Forecast: The lift from an aviation brigade

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Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp. President Mike Kazmierski is watching three items in the New Year that he believes have the potential to produce sustained economic growth for the city.

They involve Fort Carson, relocating companies and a new mayor.

For starters, Kazmierski is optimistic that an Army Combat Aviation Brigade will be created at Fort Carson. He estimates the brigade would add more than 3,000 active-duty soldiers to the region and would result in more than $100 million in construction work at Fort Carson.

“This would solidify the 4th Infantry as a division that has all of the pieces in place to properly train for war,” he said. “The fully outfitted division will have more staying power in preparation for the coming defense industry cuts we expect to see in the next five to 10 years to reduce the deficit.”

Next on the list is an influx of companies he believes will be announcing a move to or expansion in the Springs in the coming year.

“We have more than 10 companies that we’re expecting announcements from,” he said. “The numbers might not make the front page, but collectively they could add hundreds of jobs to the community and will only grow in the years ahead.”

Kazmierski said that historically 70 percent of the companies that visited Colorado Springs to explore the possibility have ended up making the move. All of the 10-plus companies he referred to have already been wooed by the EDC and local business people in the Springs.

Finally, Kazmierski said the election of a business-friendly mayor will go a long way to improving the local economy.

“We have a leader on the state level that has visited down here and wants to help our economy,” he said in reference to incoming Gov. John Hickenlooper. “I expect the people will elect a mayor with that same kind of focus, who puts the same energy toward growing the economy and growing jobs.”

At least that’s his hope.