New aviation brigade offers hope for Springs

Filed under: Opinion,Print |

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the business community who hasn’t heard that an aviation brigade is indeed coming to Fort Carson.

The news, which had been anticipated by the business folks for months, was confirmed this week.

“It’s official,” U.S. Sen. Mark Udall said. “Fort Carson will be getting a new combat aviation brigade.”

The news, though expected, was no doubt celebrated with a little cheering, a few high-fives and some fist-pumping.

Local political leaders along with business, military and economic development officials worked hard to make it happen, and getting affirmation of the green light was cause for celebration.

Why?

There are lots of reasons, but, what it really comes down to is the hope that Colorado Springs will be riding a high economic tide again in a few years.

The 113-helicopter brigade is expected to bring 7,000 soldiers and family members, $240 million in construction business and about 2,200 civilian jobs.

That adds up to the infusion of a lot of money into the Pikes Peak region.

It’s not just jobs. It’s also a whole lot of people spending money on cars, on houses, in restaurants, at grocery stores, at appliance and electronics stores — everywhere goods are sold.

The latest economic slump has been a hard-fought battle for small and large businesses alike. They’ve seen customers and spending dwindle, and the city has seen tax revenues plunge.

That caused the city to shut off park sprinklers, drain swimming pools, black out streetlights and reduce police and fire protection.

As parkways and lawns wilted, the city turned brown, and so did its mood.

Many commented publicly that they didn’t recognize their city anymore, and some moved away.

It’s hard to believe sometimes that economy and finance can be such a predictor of mood, but the recent downturn has shown us that they are.

So, news of the aviation brigade, jobs and a better economic tomorrow should be viewed as the promise of reprieve we’ve been waiting for.

It’s worth a cheer and a fist-pump.