It was a full house at The Broadmoor today when Mayor John Suthers gave his State of the City address to about 700 people.
Things are looking up in Colorado Springs, according to Mayor John Suthers who spoke to 700 people at a luncheon at The Broadmoor today, Sept. 22, hosted by the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and EDC.
Suthers opened by recalling that in 2015, he reported the city was in good shape with potential to be in great shape.
Last year, he reported the city had made significant progress from good to great.
But today, he expressed enthusiasm, with one caveat — it's essential for voters to approve the city's proposed stormwater fee on the Nov. 7 ballot.
"As to the state of our city today," he said, "I do not believe I am being overly optimistic, nor am I exaggerating, when I suggest that Colorado Springs, as a result of the public and private investment of its citizens, is beginning to achieve its potential and secure its place among the great cities of America."
Here are a few of the many gains Suthers reported:
• The city's 2C ballot measure approved by voters in 2015 has paved 471 lane miles of roadway.
• Due to local, state and federal investment, the intersection of Interstate 25 and Cimarron Street will be completed in October.
• The city's median age is 34.4 years, almost 10 years younger than the average age of all Coloradans.
• 8,000 jobs have been added per year in the last two years.
• After seeing unemployment soar to 10 percent in 2010, the latest figure is 2.5 percent as of June.
• There are 13,260 job postings with median pay of $69,600.
• The city's real estate market is among the hottest in the nation, with the average price of a home increasing by 17 percent since July 2015, to $323,200.
• Colorado Springs Airport has seen a 30 percent increase in passengers over the last year.
• Tourism is booming, with the lodger's tax revenues up by double digits the last two years.
Suthers later held court with the media following the luncheon.
Looking to the future, Suthers noted, "The most immediate issue before the City Council in terms of continued economic expansion is the approval of an amended annexation agreement for Banning Lewis Ranch."
Annexed in 1988, the 20,000-acre ranch has sat mostly idle since that time due to economic factors and onerous requirements of the developer to build infrastructure.
"Over the last 22 years, the city has lost more than 2,700 jobs and $4.5 billion in economic benefit as the inability to develop Banning Lewis has caused development to leap frog the area into the county. Banning Lewis Ranch should be developed in a manner that delivers a great quality of life for its residents and more than pays for itself in terms of city services and public infrastructure."
Read his entire speech here:
See related PDF
Suthers also honored former City Councilor Mary Ellen McNally with the lifetime achievement Spirit of the Springs award. Here's the release:
Mayor John Suthers presented the Spirit of the Springs Lifetime Achievement Award to Mary Ellen McNally after the State of the City address today. A long-time resident of Colorado Springs, Olympic City USA, McNally has impacted the city through her professional and volunteer contributions.
“If you’ve lived here for more than a couple of years and been involved in our community, you’ve undoubtedly heard that name, and been impacted by her many contributions," said Suthers to the crowd of nearly 700 at the State of the City Address.
McNally has volunteered on numerous boards, and has raised funds for multiple local non-profit organizations including School District 11, Cheyenne Village, Citizens Project, the Southern Colorado AIDS Project and many more.
The Spirit of the Springs awards program was created to celebrate the positive achievements of citizens in our great community. The lifetime achievement award has only been presented on three prior occasions to Nancy Lewis, Mayor Harry Hoth and George Fellows. Click here to find out about the Spirit of the Springs program.