Mayor assembles another team to talk about downtown renaissance

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Mayor Steve Bach announced at his press conference today that he has assembled another team of community leaders concerned with a downtown renaissance to talk about what the city can do to encourage developers and build enthusiasm about the area.

“Downtown is the heart of the city,” Bach said. “Successful cities have strong downtowns. And I’m committed to a true renaissance downtown.”

He brought representatives from the Downtown Development Authority, the Downtown Partnership, The Downtown Business Improvement District, the Colorado Springs Business Alliance, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the Urban Development Authority together at the front of the room.

“We have agreed we’re going to meet regularly to drive toward solutions downtown,” Bach said, “at least once a month.”

The group is certainly not the only one focused on downtown. The Mayor also has a downtown solutions team headed by longtime builder and developer Chuck Murphy, who owns Murphy Constructors.

Susan Edmondson, president and CEO of the downtown partnership said after the press conference that the leaders in the group the mayor announced are certainly in communication with each other regularly.

“But it’s great to have the mayor in such a leadership position,” she said.

She said it’s important to have strong support from city government and the mayor’s declaration that he will try to remove roadblocks should be encouraging to businesses considering a move downtown.

Bach said his first priorities will be to improve safety downtown, which he said is underway with new surveillance cameras and extra police patrol. He added that a restriction on panhandling within 20 feet of a business could improve perceived safety concerns.

“Also, I-25 and Cimarron – we hope that is moving forward,” he said.

He added that residential development downtown is essential to redeveloping the core.

“I have been talking with a number of  developers, both local and out of town and I look forward to announcements this year,” he said.

Bach has said in press conferences since August that he expects announcements about new residential development are imminent.

Bach also said today that he has been talking with national retail redevelopment companies and would like to find a way to attract entertainment anchors to the city’s core.