Some years begin with little fanfare or anticipation, just a fresh outlook and a clean plate.
But something about the arrival of 2014 feels different. In part, it’s knowing that the year will be automatically eventful, thanks to the scheduled elections in June (party primaries) and November (general). But it’s also based on Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region being in position to expect much more in the 12 months ahead, thanks to the City for Champions as well as other matters of local importance.
So, as January starts and the area agenda remains soft, let’s add to the atmosphere with a full round of mostly lighthearted predictions for the year to come, month by month. Obviously, much is based on pure speculation and guesswork (or hoping for the best). But hey, if we can’t have a little fun now, when can we?
With that, let’s take an advance look at 2014, month by month:
January: Suddenly, word spreads that the Colorado Springs Sky Sox owners now want to be included in that downtown stadium, with strong support from the Colorado Rockies. That would mean reverting the design back to handling baseball as well as Olympic sports, but organizers can’t ignore the prospect of the Sky Sox filling 72 dates a year.
February: El Paso County’s first recreational marijuana store opens in Manitou Springs, and business is brisk. The location is far removed from downtown, schools or churches, so the effect is minimal. Meanwhile, sales (and tax revenues) in Denver and other areas of the state are more than expected.
March: Local organizers move to wrap up City for Champions agreements with the state Economic Development Commission, with the downtown stadium the only uncertainty. … Primary election races heat up, particularly Scott Gessler and others battling Tom Tancredo for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Tancredo leads the polls. Gessler reportedly considers El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark as running mate.
April: Mayor Steve Bach announces finalized sites for Olympic museum and stadium-events center in southwest downtown, and confirms at least $75 million in donation commitments from Colorado philanthropic groups led by the Anshutz and El Pomar foundations. … Recall effort takes shape against several members of City Council.
May: More good news from Bach, this time related to the airport, with United and American adding more Denver, Dallas and Houston flights. Rumors suggest that Frontier may return to Colorado Springs. … Manitou’s second recreational marijuana outlet opens, with the tax revenue producing a small boon for the town.
June: Finally, after months of mudslinging campaigns, Gessler edges Tancredo in the GOP governor race for the right to oppose Gov. John Hickenlooper. Clark refuses the offer to be Gessler’s choice for lieutenant governor, so he picks Sheriff Terry Maketa instead. County Clerk Wayne Williams wins the GOP secretary of state nod, state Rep. Mark Waller gets the party’s attorney general nomination, and state Sen. Amy Stephens will oppose U.S. Sen. Mark Udall. … Council recall crusades quickly run out of steam and die.
July: Huge sigh of relief, as hottest months pass with no major wildfires in the region. But floods on burn scars enhance plans for city-county stormwater ballot issue planned for November ballot.
August: Air Force Academy announces early fundraising success for combined project, renovating Falcon Stadium and building the new AFA Visitors Center.
September: Sky Sox end their season by announcing they will be partners in the downtown stadium, after all, and leaders provide first list of confirmed events for the facility when it opens. First major fundraiser event takes place for the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, at $500 a person hosted by The Broadmoor, with ceremonial groundbreaking and legendary Olympians taking part, including Mary Lou Retton, Carl Lewis, Peggy Fleming, Michael Phelps, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Magic Johnson, Bonnie Blair and George Foreman.
October: Groundbreaking takes place on the UCCS Sports Medicine Center. Developers unveil major plans for residential and commercial projects surrounding the C4C downtown venues.
November: Hickenlooper wins another term as governor, but Republicans take control of the state Senate and House, ensuring our own version of legislative gridlock. Udall prevails, along with Williams and Waller. Regional stormwater issue passes easily, with a long list of priority work that compares to the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority.
December: Mayor Bach announces he’ll run for a second term in April 2015, saying he can’t walk away from City for Champions, and he fuels rumors that Southwest Airlines might add service here. But outgoing state Attorney General John Suthers and County Commissioner Amy Lathen confirm that they likely will oppose Bach — and yet another campaign begins.