During his second State of the City address as mayor of Colorado Springs, John Suthers spoke Thursday at The Broadmoor Hotel about the city’s achievements and potential.
“A year ago, in my first State of the City address, I reported that the state of the city was good but the potential of our city was great,” Suthers said in his speech. “Today, I am very pleased to report that in the last 12 months our city has moved forward significantly on the continuum from good to great.”
He spoke for half an hour, covering a wide swath of issues relevant to the community at large. Here are a few of his remarks:
Issue 2C: Infrastructure
“From May to the end of the paving season next month we will have paved approximately 221 lane miles and poured over 177,082 tons of asphalt. We will have also replaced 93,015 lineal feet of curb and gutter and replaced or repaired 240 pedestrian ramps. And that’s just the beginning.”
“After a decade of very little job growth, the city’s economy is doing very well. According to the recently published 2015 census estimate Colorado Springs grew by 11,000 people last year, allowing it to surpass Omaha, Neb. and Virginia Beach, Va., and become the 40th largest city in America. And, most importantly, El Paso County added almost 9,000 jobs in 2015. Our unemployment rate has dropped from 9.6 percent in 2010 to as low as to 3.4 percent this year, the lowest in 15 years, and many of our citizens are returning to the work force for the first time since the recession. We now have approximately 15,000 job openings with an average salary of $64,000.”
“I am pleased to tell you that currently there are over 450 units of multi-family housing for low-income earners in various stages of application and planning and another 200 units identified for preservation through rehabilitation in Colorado Springs and greater El Paso County.”
“You may have noticed that our tourism industry is having a very good year. Hotel and motel occupancy rates have climbed to record levels. Lodging and rental car tax revenues, after growing 13.4 percent last year, are up another 14.5 percent so far this year. And yet another sign of tourism growth is the record number of trips up Pikes Peak. We’re tracking 20 percent above last year’s record breaking total of 415,000. Tourism is a very large segment of our economy and we need to continue to nurture and promote it.”
Colorado Springs Airport
“So far, enplanements at the airport are up 5 percent over last year, and the yearend forecast shows a nearly 10 percent year over year growth.”
For more information about the 2016 State of the City address, read he Sept. 16 edition of the Colorado Springs Business Journal.