From the start, even the most ardent supporters of City for Champions have known that the package deal of projects for Colorado Springs and the Air Force Academy wasn’t absolutely perfect and beyond reproach.
Yes, some of the forecasts for likely usage and attendance, particularly for the Colorado Sports and Events Center downtown, might not be totally realistic. And granted, City for Champions likely will only become reality with major infusions in the tens of millions from the state’s most noteworthy foundations, along with billionaire Broadmoor owner Philip Anschutz.
But there is a different threat to City for Champions, and it’s not about foundations or projections.
It’s a threat from a handful of our own elected leaders on the Colorado Springs City Council. Five of that group’s nine members — Council President Keith King, Don Knight, Joel Miller, Helen Collins and Andy Pico — are refusing to make any commitment of support to help City for Champions.
Practically everyone else who has been involved — Mayor Steve Bach, the other four Council members (Merv Bennett, Jan Martin, Val Snider and Jill Gaebler), several county commissioners, business and civic leaders, former elected officials, other prominent government officials and more — have shared a different, more cooperative view.
[pullquote]Mayor Bach and the other C4C backers need to take off their kid gloves and go on the attack.[/pullquote]They see the long-term value and legacy that would come from building the City for Champions projects. They also acknowledge the imperfections, and the challenges in putting together the financial details, but they agree that the end result is well worth trying in every way possible to work through the issues.
They also understand how important it is at this stage for the leaders of Colorado Springs to stand united in their desire to find a way to make City for Champions become reality.
So much support, so much promise, so many possibilities — yet, we have five first-year Council members, effectively forming a roadblock majority that appears intent on undermining and, yes, killing City for Champions.
C4C supporters have stayed on the high road, trying to address opponents’ concerns, pleading with any of those five Councilors to join with the far larger group working to reach solutions instead of simply trying to shoot down the entire City for Champions project.
Amid such loud opposition, Mayor Bach and the other C4C backers need to take off their kid gloves and go on the attack. We’d like to see a large group of leaders call together the media, make their case for why City for Champions is worth pursuing, and condemn the opponents for their destructive tactics and for not caring about the future of Colorado Springs.
Many of those people already pulled together once, going to Denver during a December storm and convincing the Colorado Economic Development Commission to grant this city’s request for funding help via the Regional Tourism Act.
It’s time for another tour de force, perhaps significant enough to draw live TV coverage. It’s time for those who are trying to improve Colorado Springs’ future to stand up and battle.
We can’t accept the rising possibility that five newly elected leaders could derail such a positive, potentially history-changing campaign for our city and region.
With the city and the Colorado EDC facing a deadline for finalizing their contract and moving forward, the time is now. Not a few months down the line or later in the year. As soon as possible.