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As the Village Turns



In this 1990 Downtown Action Plan vision map detailing the future of downtown Colorado Springs, a sports center/convention center is proposed just to the left of the Antlers Hotel.
  • In this 1990 Downtown Action Plan vision map detailing the future of downtown Colorado Springs, a sports center/convention center is proposed just to the left of the Antlers Hotel.

The Broadmoor is building a convention center. Nothing elaborate, of course. Just a plain, modest facility that will, in that "aw shucks" Broadmoor way, burst forth from the earth in a numbing explosion of gaudy and pretentious architectural achievement, a lavish display that will make its typical guests so giddy they'll jump out of bed each morning and accidentally chug the glass of water containing their teeth.

Anyway, as you are probably aware, the City of Colorado Springs -- which has long lusted after a convention center of its own -- is currently considering building a facility a few miles away from the resort, near downtown.

The proposed downtown convention center would certainly siphon some business, and money, from the Broadmoor's new facility. This in turn would force resort president Steve Bartolin to reduce employee benefits, including possible cancellation of the weekly fun-filled employee get-together known as "Trim The Golf Course With Nail Clippers Night."

None of which has anything to do, I'm sure, with the findings of a recent Broadmoor-funded study. That study, for which the Broadmoor paid $10,000, came to the following conclusion: The Broadmoor should have the only convention center in our village.

What a shocker!

Helping hand

In a cover letter accompanying the study that was delivered to our City Council two weeks ago, Bartolin assured our leaders that the intent of the study was not in any way to help the Broadmoor, but rather was intended to help our village.

Because there are two things the big-hearted Broadmoor boss likes. One, as you may know, is stealing city water in a secret deal with our conniving Utilities company during a drought. (The last time I played golf there, my Japanese caddy suddenly disappeared on the seventh fairway, then resurfaced 14 minutes later holding a pearl.)

And the other thing Bartolin likes, of course, is helping our village.

So he paid a study group called Source Strategies Inc. $10,000 to conduct a formal study known as a MWT (Monumental Waste of Time).

The "study," according to the Broadmoor, analyzed a previous convention center study. The first one was commissioned last year by the city and cost $50,000. That initial study concluded that a publicly owned Colorado Springs convention center is a terrific idea that would promote economic growth in the village.

(Footnote. A third and totally unrelated study conducted by some of my friends concluded that if you pay $800 for a round of golf and one night in a hotel, Paris Hilton better knock on the door holding a bottle of whiskey and a video camera.)

Anyway, the Broadmoor "study" -- which village officials never asked for and were not aware was being performed -- shot down every single conclusion of the first, positive study.

In essence, the group paid by the Broadmoor concluded that instead of building a convention center, Colorado Springs would be better off building a Kobe Bryant Ethical Behavior And, You Know, Making Good Choices Center.

Out of the blue

Fortunately, our City Council (motto: "We're Nott As Stoopid As Oui Look") appears to have figured out that the expedient Broadmoor "study" is ridiculous.

"If the purpose of the study was to open our eyes," said Vice Mayor Richard Skorman, "well, the messenger probably hurt their cause. I think it backfired. The Broadmoor didn't go about this in the right way. It just came out of the blue. And it served their interest."

Councilman Scott Hente, a developer, weighed in: "I'm not saying this new study is entirely self-serving, but you might say the Broadmoor has interests other than the interests the city has. How's that for a politically correct answer?"

Hente laughed, and then said: "If I ran the Broadmoor and was building a convention center, I wouldn't want another convention center either."

From District 3, Councilman Jerry Heimlicher: "I'm probably the most skeptical one in the bunch. I might run for re-election next year, and I might like the support of the Broadmoor. That's my district. But I won't say things just to get re-elected. And this study sounds like, at first blush, someone going to a study company and saying 'Here's the money, now here's what we want you to conclude.' But Steve Bartolin is no dummy, and it's hard to believe that he'd do anything that self-serving."

Not everyone was as skeptical as Heimlicher.

Reached at his office, here's what councilman and lawyer Darryl Glenn had to say:

"I'm still analyzing the issue and soliciting input from all parties, but the Broadmoor's letter that accompanied the convention center study made it quite clear that there was no pre-existing relationship with the Broadmoor and the people who performed the study."

He spoke slowly, taking several long pauses. I'm not sure what any of it meant, but judging by his slow delivery and the careful and professional way he chose his words, I got the impression that attorney Glenn will be looking seriously at the Broadmoor study.

More importantly, I got the impression that I'm definitely going to be charged for one-tenth of a billable hour.


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