Manitou Springs City Council approved a deal with the Pikes Peak Cog Railway on June 26 by a vote of 6 to 1, with Becky Elder voting against it citing a desire for more time to mull the agreement.
As we reported in this week's edition
, the deal means Manitou will receive $500,000 this year and next year from the cog, which will take the place of the roughly $500,000 in excise tax per year paid by the cog. The cog will also contribute $500,000 toward parking solutions for the crowded town. The city agreed to cap excise tax revenues for the next 50 years, which could be worth $16 million or more to the cog, which is owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz, who also owns the Broadmoor.
The city also will waive use taxes for reconstruction of the cog — about $1.1 million worth — which closed last October and didn't reopen this season and likely won't until at least 2020.
Manitou Mayor Ken Jaray says efforts begin immediately to meet with stakeholders to determine how to reduce congestion on Ruxton Avenue which leads to the cog parking lot and other attractions.
The city also has hired Kimley-Horn and Associates "to look at the functionality of Ruxton," Jaray says.
Another meeting is in the offing to begin plans to redevelop Hiawatha Gardens to serve as a parking spot, he says. Further, city officials will be meeting with Colorado Springs officials to find additional outlying surface parking for a shuttle service being contemplated as a way to convey people to the cog.
The first $500,000 payment from the cog is due Oct. 1, Jaray says, in a deal that he says is good for all concerned.
"First, it ensures the long term viability of the cog over 50 years," Jaray says. "It solidifies our relationship and partnership with them to address traffic issues over the long term."