Things are getting better, mayor says


It was a full house to hear Mayor John Suthers report how the city's doing. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • It was a full house to hear Mayor John Suthers report how the city's doing.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers reported today to roughly 650 people at The Broadmoor that the state of the city is getting better.

Last year during his State of the City address, he called conditions good. This year, he says the city is making progress.

"A year ago, I reported the state of the city was good but the potential was great," he said. "Today, I'm very pleased to report that in the last 12 months our city has moved forward significantly on the continuum from good to great."

Among the advances:
• The mayor's office and City Council get along better.
• Voters approved 2C last November, a sales tax to raise $250 million to fix the city's abysmal roads.
• He and Council put in place an intergovernmental agreement with Pueblo County to spend $460 million in the next 20 years on stormwater drainage projects and maintenance. (Suthers also reported that the Justice Department's possible lawsuit against the city for failing to meeting requirements for its federal stormwater discharge permit remain unresolved.)
• The Southern Delivery System pipeline project, some 20 years in the making, went on line in April.
• Nearly 9,000 jobs were created in El Paso County, and unemployment has fallen from 9.6 percent in 2010 to 3.4 percent this year.
• The local real estate market is one of the hottest in the nation.
• The city's reputation as Olympic City USA is getting traction, as is its efforts to become the cybersecurity capital of the nation.
• Tourism is up.
• Frontier Airlines has started flights to Las Vegas, Phoenix and Orlando from the Colorado Springs Airport.
• Nearly $1 billion worth of construction in the health care industry has been announced.

(It's worth noting that Suthers failed to list among his accomplishments a land swap in which he and Council agreed to swap 189-acre Strawberry Fields open space to The Broadmoor for trail easements and wilderness property totaling about 400 acres, a deal that's triggered a lawsuit by opponents who protested trading the open space.)

Looking ahead, Suthers says he wants to see a homeless campus built but didn't say where; he wants a Mountain Metropolitan Transit hub built but didn't say where, and $25 million needs to be raised to fund construction of a new Summit House on Pikes Peak.

He did reveal, without disclosing the donor, that the $10 million gap in funding for the Olympic Museum to be built southwest of downtown had been closed to $6 million. Construction will begin this fall, he said, with work on utility lines.

Suthers also recognized George Fellows with a Spirit of the Springs lifetime achievement award. Fellows served as city manager from 1966 to 1985.
Here's the entire speech:
See related PDF 2016_State_of_the_City_Address_-_Media.pdf

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