New downtown Colorado Springs tourism project shot down


A bill that would allow the city of Colorado Springs to amend its state Regional Tourism Act funding package to sub an air museum in place of a downtown stadium is dead.

The work-around was prompted by findings that showed the downtown stadium to be not viable without a significant infusion of local taxpayer money.

So instead of a stadium, Mayor John Suthers recently announced a second site for the World War II air museum at the Colorado Springs Airport would be built, though there was no public process involved in choosing the project — just as there was no public input for choosing the original four projects included in the tourism venture dubbed City for Champions.

That package includes the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, which is to break ground this spring; a visitors center at the Air Force Academy, which reportedly is issuing a request for proposals soon; and a sports medicine facility at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, which has gathered some funding.

All would be aided by state sales tax money collected above a base year established in 2013 over a tourism zone that includes most of the city. The city's allotment was $120.5 million before the stadium washed out.

But the proposed state Senate bill, carried at the request of the city, reportedly was postponed indefinitely by the Appropriations Committee, so it's sunk.

It's unclear, after that amendment to the Regional Tourism Act has failed, how much that will reduce the city's allowance, or whether part of the money the city already has received, which totals $4.9 million, needs to be refunded.

Suthers told City Council in a Tuesday lunch meeting that "unless something miraculous happens," the city will drop the idea of a fourth venue, according to an online report in the Gazette.

One followup question: Does that mean the package of projects will now be called C3C, instead of C4C?

We're trying to find out more and will update when we do.

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