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Limbo lingers for downtown stadium



City Council again has delayed deciding whether there'll be a vote on the use of city money to build a $92.7 million downtown stadium and events center, the biggest of four City for Champions projects.

During two-plus hours of debate Monday, councilors and the public wrangled over the measure that Councilor Joel Miller wants to see on the April 7 city ballot.

A curveball was hurled just minutes before the 1 p.m. meeting by Council President Keith King, who's complained in the past about Mayor Steve Bach's staff giving short notice on issues: King offered his own substitute ballot measure. His version would amend the City Charter to require voter approval if city sales tax revenues are used to fund the City for Champions downtown stadium.

This varies from Miller's version, which mirrors an initiative being circulated by his wife, Anita, that would force a vote if she gains the 14,482 signatures needed within the next 60 days. That measure would bar use of any city tax money, not just sales taxes, to fund any stadium, not just a City for Champions venue.

King's maneuver resulted in a 5-4 vote to postpone consideration of both measures until Dec. 9. Voting against the delay were Miller, Helen Collins, Don Knight and Andy Pico.

"I will not vote for kicking the can down the road," Collins said. "When you continually try to hide something, you don't give people information even through a CORA [Colorado Open Records Act] request, that's unconscionable."

Collins was referring to Bach refusing for months to disclose documents about the downtown stadium, notably a feasibility study, that were funded with city money. Bach did finally release part of a baseball stadium study last week; it showed a majority didn't want the Sky Sox to move from Security Service Field to a downtown venue.

"The way this whole C4C was put together, information withheld, changes made," Knight said, "I think [voters] have a legitimate right to not trust their elected officials."

C4C supporters — Olympic Museum organizer Dick Celeste and Bach's former chief of staff Laura Neumann — said they didn't oppose a public vote, but that the measure shouldn't be a charter change. Celeste said that Broadmoor CEO Steve Bartolin, one of the drivers behind an identical charter change in 2005 to bar city funding of a downtown convention center, now "feels it was a mistake."

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