UPDATE: No debt without voter OK, Bach says


City economic development official Bob Cope says the jobs numbers submitted to the state on July 17 were not a revision but simply broke down the numbers in a different way. Without getting into the details, this explanation means the Indy misread the chart.

Cope says in an e-mail: "The point is that the job numbers provided in the supplement are consistent with those provided in the original application in table 5.6. There was no downward revision in the job numbers in the supplement. In the blog post there seemed to be an assertion that the Mayor was inaccurate or attempting to mislead which is patently false."

He goes on to say: "
In the case of City for Champions I would argue that the most important jobs number of all would be the “catalytic” job creation that will be a result of spin off development such as new stores, restaurants and hotels. Also, creating a vibrant urban environment will attract additional young educated professionals and quality employers to our city."

Such catalytic job figures are not included in the city's submittals.

-------------- ORIGINAL POST THURSDAY, AUG. 1, 3:09 PM ----------------------------

Mayor Steve Bach told 700 people today during his "state of the city" address at the Broadmoor hotel that the city will not borrow money to build four tourist attractions unless it gets an OK from voters.

"If in the end the city has to borrow money, the City Council will put it on the ballot," Bach said. "There will be no borrowing without voter approval."

He was referring to the city's application for $82 million in state sales tax rebates under the Regional Tourism Act. The proposal also calls for $74 million in "public funding" and $61 million in donations and endowment money. Bach's plan is to build a downtown baseball stadium and events center, a downtown Olympic museum, a sports medicine performance center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and a new Air Force Academy visitors center closer to Interstate 25.

The city submitted its package on July 8 and nine days later amended it. Part of that amendment was changing the total number of permanent jobs to be created due to the $218 million investment.

Those revised numbers are: 377 permanent jobs directly associated with the four tourist attractions, down from 503 in the original application submitted July 8. Total jobs created by spinoff impact from the attractions was amended to 566, down from 754 in the original application.

Yet, Bach said this today before a crowd of business people and government officials: "If the state approves this proposal we could have four new tourist attractions in just a few years. It would bring almost 450,000 new out of state tourists, create 750 direct jobs and thousands of secondary jobs."

He also said, "This is a time to think big and get big things done," and promised to have a series of public meetings and "roundtables" to collect public input on the RTA proposal in coming weeks and months.

But he warned those who are skeptical, cynical or see the glass as half empty: "This day belongs to us. We will not be deterred. I stand with all of you who want to think big and get big things done. It is time for everyone in this room to be a champion for this city" by supporting the RTA proposal, using the Colorado Springs Airport and working for a cause chosen by each citizen.

He closed his remarks like this:

President John Kennedy once said, "We cannot allow our fears to hold us back from pursuing our hopes." That's the kind of thinking that landed the first man on the moon. And ladies and gentlemen, that is the kind of thinking that will propel this city forward. This is our time to follow in the footsteps of Palmer, Stratton, Penrose, those community leaders who brought the U.S. Air Force Academy here and all of those who assured our water resources decades ago. This is our time to make the same kind of difference.

Remember our heritage. We are "Pikes Peak or Bust" people. Nothing can stop us. Nothing can hold us back, just like those pioneers. We can do this. We can get this done. Let's make things happen for our city. Let's do it now.
The mayor received a standing ovation.

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