Colorado Springs, as we’ve documented more than a few times, knows how to plan for the future. Over the years, our city has developed an endless fascination with studies, assessments, projections and long-range plans.
At some point, though, we have to move beyond this romance with the future. We have more than enough ideas and fantasies for what Colorado Springs might look like in 2035.
The time has come to change that focus. Instead of spending so much time pondering what to expect in two decades, why not talk about two years instead?
As a starting point, here’s a goal for 2013: Let’s figure out a way to prioritize our ambitious grab-bag of possibilities. And before the end of next year, let’s put together the first Colorado Springs Short-Range Plan.
Since nobody else has made the suggestion (at least that we know of), here are some parameters.
First, it has to come from Mayor Steve Bach’s office, or it won’t have a chance to move forward. Perhaps Bach could appoint a small group representing different interests to begin meeting soon, hopefully joined at the start by the mayor himself.
Second, we’re not talking about anything large and complicated. It might be as simple as identifying a theme for each year, along with several sub-topics.
For example, for the first theme, we’d nominate museums. We’ve all heard about the slowly evolving campaigns to build a science museum, a children’s museum and an Olympic museum — all likely in the same general area of southwest downtown. So far, those efforts have been separate, and understandably so. But the time has come to bring them all out into the open, and hopefully the synergy can boost all three.
We’re impressed with the progress of what’s called the Colorado Springs Science Center Project (http://www.csscp.org). Already, that group has been nurturing its annual Cool Science Festival, which is growing exponentially. According to its vision statement: “By 2015, Colorado Springs will be home and host to a nationally recognized, multi-day, multi-venue science festival reaching 35,000-50,000 people from across our region. Through a program of activities, events, lectures, shows and forums woven from the collaborative involvement of companies and organizations throughout our region, the Colorado Springs Cool Science Festival will annually promote the rich innovative heritage, prowess, and potential of our great city and its environs.”
Then there’s the Pikes Peak Children’s Museum (http://pikespeakchildrensmuseum.org), which boldly states on its homepage that it will create “a to-be-built, stand-alone, hands-on experiential facility to be located in downtown Colorado Springs by December 31, 2015. PPCM will focus exhibits and programming on children ages birth through ten years.”
Unlike those two, you won’t find a website or a public fundraising campaign for the Olympic museum concept. But this one already has full support from Mayor Bach, who also has enlisted Dick Celeste, the former Colorado College president and Ohio governor, to coordinate moving that idea toward reality. We also hear that there’s potential for major philanthropic involvement from funders with local ties, starting with El Pomar Foundation and the Anschutz Family Foundation.
Given all that positive momentum, why not find a way to unite those museum projects? They might have to be funded separately, but with specific sites still uncertain, and many civic leaders supportive of all three, let’s make museums the first tangible element of that Colorado Springs Short-Range Plan.
With more themes to come in years ahead.