Mayor Steve Bach spent 15 fast-paced minutes expounding on his favorite recent priorities, City for Champions and stormwater, in his keynote speech Wednesday morning at the Downtown Partnership’s 16th annual Breakfast with the Mayor.
Addressing a record crowd for the event of about 400 at the Antlers Hilton, Bach implored the audience to embrace the City for Champions proposal for Regional Tourism Act funds to help pay for projects including an Olympic museum and a baseball/events stadium downtown. He called the City for Champions a “game-changer for our future,” adding that “once the state [Economic Development Commission] approves our grant proposal, that’s when the conversation begins” concerning details and accountability.
As for stormwater, Bach continued to push for his strategy of the city addressing its needs without joining a regional effort that already has broad support from other elected officials.
“We are not standing idly by,” the mayor said, describing plans to spend $25 million in the next year on stormwater projects. He is pushing for refinancing current city debt to cover up to $240 million in stormwater capital improvement needs instead of asking for more help from taxpayers. Opponents insist that Bach’s idea would cover only about 20 percent of the actual pressing needs in stormwater infrastructure.
After Bach’s address, the Downtown Partnership honored several individuals and businesses. First, the Community Ventures board of directors recognized former downtown businesswoman Judy Noyes, longtime co-owner of the former Chinook Bookshop on Tejon Street. Noyes, who passed away earlier this year, was honored for her role in starting the Art on the Streets program, and Community Ventures is starting a Jody Noyes Memorial Purchase Fund with a $12,000 contribution toward future purchases of permanent outdoor art.
Other honors included:
Individual, Susan Godec, owner of the Phancy Pheasant store on Tejon Street, for her leadership in fundraising efforts to enhance downtown sidewalks with more than 40 large flower pots, maintained throughout the warm months.
Civil servant, Greg Warnke, manager of the city parking enterprise, for his work in helping downtown projects such as revitalizing the city’s alleyways.
Business or organization, Colorado Springs Urban Intervention, for its most visible downtown-centric projects: converting a city block (Pikes Peak Avenue, west of Nevada Avenue) into a pedestrian-dominant area with single-lane traffic for two days; and the Curbside Cuisine facility for food trucks at the corner of Platte and Nevada avenues.