Opinion: Time to battle C4C opponents

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City for ChampionsFrom the start, even the most ardent supporters of City for Champions have known that the package deal of projects for Colorado Springs and the Air Force Academy wasn’t absolutely perfect and beyond reproach.

Yes, some of the forecasts for likely usage and attendance, particularly for the Colorado Sports and Events Center downtown, might not be totally realistic. And granted, City for Champions likely will only become reality with major infusions in the tens of millions from the state’s most noteworthy foundations, along with billionaire Broadmoor owner Philip Anschutz.

But there is a different threat to City for Champions, and it’s not about foundations or projections.

It’s a threat from a handful of our own elected leaders on the Colorado Springs City Council. Five of that group’s nine members — Council President Keith King, Don Knight, Joel Miller, Helen Collins and Andy Pico — are refusing to make any commitment of support to help City for Champions.

Practically everyone else who has been involved — Mayor Steve Bach, the other four Council members (Merv Bennett, Jan Martin, Val Snider and Jill Gaebler), several county commissioners, business and civic leaders, former elected officials, other prominent government officials and more — have shared a different, more cooperative view.

Mayor Bach and the other C4C backers need to take off their kid gloves and go on the attack.

They see the long-term value and legacy that would come from building the City for Champions projects. They also acknowledge the imperfections, and the challenges in putting together the financial details, but they agree that the end result is well worth trying in every way possible to work through the issues.

They also understand how important it is at this stage for the leaders of Colorado Springs to stand united in their desire to find a way to make City for Champions become reality.

So much support, so much promise, so many possibilities — yet, we have five first-year Council members, effectively forming a roadblock majority that appears intent on undermining and, yes, killing City for Champions.

C4C supporters have stayed on the high road, trying to address opponents’ concerns, pleading with any of those five Councilors to join with the far larger group working to reach solutions instead of simply trying to shoot down the entire City for Champions project.

Amid such loud opposition, Mayor Bach and the other C4C backers need to take off their kid gloves and go on the attack. We’d like to see a large group of leaders call together the media, make their case for why City for Champions is worth pursuing, and condemn the opponents for their destructive tactics and for not caring about the future of Colorado Springs.

Many of those people already pulled together once, going to Denver during a December storm and convincing the Colorado Economic Development Commission to grant this city’s request for funding help via the Regional Tourism Act.

It’s time for another tour de force, perhaps significant enough to draw live TV coverage. It’s time for those who are trying to improve Colorado Springs’ future to stand up and battle.

We can’t accept the rising possibility that five newly elected leaders could derail such a positive, potentially history-changing campaign for our city and region.

With the city and the Colorado EDC facing a deadline for finalizing their contract and moving forward, the time is now. Not a few months down the line or later in the year. As soon as possible.

6 Responses to Opinion: Time to battle C4C opponents

  1. I have a different thought. Why not try working together? The fighting has to stop. Someone “step up”.

    David H. Moore
    March 26, 2014 at 8:36 am

  2. This entire project makes no sense. Colorado Springs sits on the thresh hold of one the ten wonders of the world (The Rocky Mountains) and instead of developing access and recreation to this wonder we are going to tear up downtown with years of construction in hopes we can attract people indoors to watch amateur sports events. No sense.

    Steven Shepard
    March 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm

  3. David, I agree! Stop the power plays and really, really think about the citizens and the future of this city. There has been nothing new in our city for quite some time and as a native, I am excited about this project. And all aspects of this project although I would like to see the stadium evolve into a stadium with additional athletic fields so that there is a greater opportunity to book the venue with youth and amateur tournaments. The event center is perfect the way it is and it IS NOT a convention center!

    Callie
    March 26, 2014 at 12:48 pm

  4. I truly understand what the C4C can do in terms of jobs during the build, and tourism dollars in the future. But the reality is that the city can’t maintain it’s own infrastructure. Roads are shot and no money to repair. Stormwater/drainage is shot – no money to fix. Parks, no water. So you want to create this city of champions, but you can’t fund it’s ongoing maintenance. New tax revenues will then allow us to improve our infrastructure? Never works that way, instead the things creating the new tax revenues create their own tax load – it isn’t tax positive.

    michael f
    March 26, 2014 at 1:10 pm

  5. Trust me – infrastructure will change and improve when the project gets underway. If we stay status quo then the infrastructure will also stay status quo.

    Callie
    March 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm

  6. I concur with many of the comments here. This article rallies folks to war. I think most of us just want to hear exact figures and ideas and have the project make sense for our region.

    Plus, the people should be the sovereign authority in a country claiming to be a democracy, so a tax increase *should* be sent to a vote of the people. I commend those on City Council who continue to stand up for the rights of our community. But I’m sure some folks think tyranny is fine as long as their pockets are lined…

    Lindy
    March 27, 2014 at 10:46 am