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News

Mayor recommends asking voters to allow City to retain $6 million for stormwater

In 2016, the economy improved and as a result sales tax and other revenue increased, ultimately growing faster than allowed by TABOR. Mayor Suthers is recommending that City Council place a question on the April ballot asking voters to allow the City to retain $6 million in excess revenue in 2016, and up to the same amount in 2017, to be used for designated stormwater projects. 

“The city has a significant and urgent funding need in stormwater, which is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed against Colorado Springs by the EPA.  We must remain laser-focused on addressing that issue,” said Mayor Suthers. “This is an opportunity to invest now, when the economy is good, and meet these needs without cutting vital services such as public safety when we have a lean year in the future.”

Should this potential ballot measure pass, any remaining excess revenue would be refunded to residents through a credit on their utility bill. Doing this, rather than refunding it as a property tax rebate, is a more equitable solution as it does not limit the refund only to homeowners.  Those contributing the money (via sales tax) would get the money back.

CDOT Announces Acceleration of Planning for I-25 Project

Resolving congestion on I-25 is a top priority that could have a significant positive impact on commerce between cities in Southern Colorado. The Colorado Springs City Government is working with other communities and organizations with the same goal – upgrading that corridor.

On Friday, January 6, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced plans to accelerate the environmental and planning process for improvements on I-25 from C470 to Colorado Springs, with attention to the gap area from Monument to Castle Rock.  

By accelerating the environmental planning for I-25, CDOT will have a project ready for construction by summer 2019 - with a project fully constructed between Castle Rock to Monument in five years - if funding is identified for construction.

Read more about the announcement on CDOT's website.

Colorado Springs residents are invited to a presentation on this important project hosted by CDOT on January 24 from 5 - 7 p.m. at Library 21C. More details: https://goo.gl/sys7O7

A year in review: 2016 highlights from the City of Colorado Springs

It’s 2017!  As we celebrate the New Year, let’s take a look back at the many highlights from the City of Colorado Springs’ busy 2016. From newly paved roads, new community plans and continued growth in many areas, there is much to be proud of and much more to look forward to in the coming year.

1) PlanCOS

PlanCOS got its start in 2016, but it won’t end there. PlanCOS is a new comprehensive plan that will shape the future of our city for years to come with community input guiding the way.

The City has not updated its comprehensive plan in 15 years, meaning there is a lot to plan and a lot of possibilities. The initial phase in the two-year PlanCOS process asks citizens, “What do you want Colorado Springs to be in 10 years?”

Take the survey and learn more about the plan here.

2) Miles upon miles of road improvements

With a boost from the voter-approved 2C road improvement tax, crucial road repairs were made throughout the city in 2016. In total, 254 lane miles were paved and over 62,000 potholes were repaired. In addition, crews did maintenance work on 688 lane miles of roadway, replaced 254 miles of curb and gutter and installed 367 new pedestrian ramps.

3) Strong Economy

From a stellar housing market to an unemployment number below 4 percent, Colorado Springs is closing out the year with a strong and healthy economy.  Over 7,700 jobs were created this year with the biggest increases coming from the health, social services, accommodations and food, education and professional technical services industries.

4) Colorado Springs Airport soars

The Colorado Springs Airport continues to attract new business and passengers, adding more tourism and commerce to the Southern Colorado area.

Overall, the Airport was expected to close out the year with a 10 percent increase in passengers. With a big boost in numbers coming as a result of Frontier Airlines returning to the airport and offering new non-stop service to Las Vegas, Phoenix and Orlando. Watch for more growth at COS in 2017!

5) Top Ranked City

This past year was one of recognition for the city, earning a place on at least 12 notable “top 10” lists, putting us among many other top cities for rankings such as Best Place to Live, Best Mountain City, Best Midsize City for New Grads, and Best City for Veterans.

See a full list of recognitions here.

6) Springs Rescue Mission

The city directed $2.5 million in federal funds towards the Springs Rescue Missions new facility that opened in November with 168 shelter beds to help serve the homeless population in our community.

7) Mountain Metro Transit

Mountain Metropolitan Transit was named the Colorado Large Community Transit Agency of the Year. In 2016, MMT focused on improving customer experience by increasing frequency of service on key routes, adding more evening and weekend service, providing more direct routes and improving on-time performance.  

8) Public Safety

The Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) and Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) advanced several of their programs and partnerships in 2016 that made big strides in public safety services. One such program is the Community Response Team (CRT), a mobile mental health crisis response unit staffed by a fire department medical provider, a police officer, and a social worker from Aspen Pointe. The unit helped better serve the mental health needs of our community while reducing the impact on resources that could be committed to serve other emergency calls.   

9) Stormwater

Following an Inter-Governmental Agreement with Pueblo County in April, the City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities committed to spending $460 million over 20 years for stormwater programming and infrastructure. And in 2016, several significant stormwater Capital Improvement Projects got their start. The projects range from mitigating flood dangers to stabilizing eroding creeks, all to make sure we can keep our water clean for our neighbors downstream and provide better protection against flooding in our community.

10) Great Strides in Developing and Maintaining Trails

The City has completed five of the eight voter-approved 2D-funded trail repair and improvement projects and also met several important milestones in the development of the Legacy Loop, a 10-mile recreational loop around downtown Colorado Springs. The Legacy Loop project is the vision of Colorado Springs’ founder General William Jackson Palmer, who dreamt of a vibrant, livable city where the essential functions of mobility and access are links to city parks, open space, and trails.

2016 MYLA Innovation in Education: Brittni Darras

After learning one of her students attempted suicide Brittni Darras, Rampart High School English teacher and Varsity Cheer Coach, decided to do something. She wrote a letter. That letter detailed how her student was important to her. After receiving that letter, Brittni’s student told her it helped save her life and gave her courage to push forward.

Brittni, then decided to write more letters, 130 letters to be exact. Her letters had a huge impact on her students, fellow teachers, high school and her district, Academy District 20. Unfortunately, the district has been dealing with a cluster of teen suicides. She also helped break the stigma of talking about suicide and mental health because her letter writing campaign was so impactful it was featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America and in The Washington Post.

Her letters helped shine a light on this terrible epidemic. The Pikes Peak Region has the highest rate of teen suicide in the country and Brittni provided a shining example that one person really can make a difference. She volunteers with Safe2Tell, an online anonymous program that empowers students, teachers and others to report important information about violent or troubling events before or after they have happened.

She is also the Committee Chair of  Bald for Bucks, an event that raised $50,000 for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Brittni, your commitment for providing your students a place where they know they will be accepted and where they will not be judged is commendable.

Congratulations!

The Mayor’s Young Leaders Award (MYLA) recognizes the outstanding achievements in five categories: Future Industries, Economic Impact, Creative Industry, Innovation in Education and Innovation in Sports and Wellness. Read more about 2016 winners and nominees here.

2016 MYLA Creative Industry: Claire Swinford

Claire Swinford is most at home wearing several different hats on a weekly basis, working with artists, athletes, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, developers, government officials and community advocates to celebrate Colorado Springs’ cultural vibrancy and make it more accessible and inclusive for visitors and residents from all walks of life. Claire serves as Urban Engagement Manager for the Downtown Partnership and administers Downtown as a state-certified Creative District and directs the legacy public art program Art on the Streets.

She has garnered top honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies for her contributions to coverage of the Waldo Canyon Fire and the US Pro Cycling Challenge; raised $4.4 million for Pikes Peak Region nonprofits through the Indy Give! Campaign; and through her community outreach work for the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, was a guest speaker at Carnegie Hall.

Her proudest accomplishment in 2016 was facilitating a group of volunteers to bring the participatory public art project UNITY to Colorado Springs for the What IF Festival, where over 1,000 people participated in the creation of a giant sculpture symbolizing the interconnectedness of our community despite differences of belief, language or national origin.

Thank you, Claire for your passion and Congratulations!

The Mayor’s Young Leaders Award (MYLA) recognizes the outstanding achievements in five categories: Future Industries, Economic Impact, Creative Industry, Innovation in Education and Innovation in Sports and Wellness. Read more about 2016 winners and nominees here.

2016 MYLA Future Industries: Allison Plute

Allison Plute has spent over 10 years engaging the community in conservation education and outreach, specifically focusing on our community's precious water resources and stewardship of our local watershed.

Allison started Creek Week, a regional stewardship event in its third year that encourages community cleanups to improve the Fountain Creek Watershed.  The 10 day event attracts hundreds of volunteers and boasts participation from all communities in the watershed, from Monument to Pueblo.

Her consistent willingness to drive sustainable solutions and tackle any project makes her an ideal community partner and an asset to Colorado Springs.

Allison has served as a steering committee member of Pikes Peak Earth Day. She is a member of the Colorado Association for Environmental Education, and a member of the National Association for Interpretation.

Congratulations Allison!

The Mayor’s Young Leaders Award (MYLA) recognizes the outstanding achievements in five categories: Future Industries, Economic Impact, Creative Industry, Innovation in Education and Innovation in Sports and Wellness. Read more about 2016 winners and nominees here.

2016 MYLA Innovation in Sports and Wellness: Megan Leatham

Megan Leatham is one of handful of women running major motorsports events in the United States. She is the Executive Director of America’s second oldest automobile race, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. 

Her outside –the-box thinking helped the race enjoy phenomenal growth and recognition. 2016 saw some of highest numbers in attendance figures in over 2 years. The race day attendance of 7,693 has been one of the highest. 209 media outlets covered the hill climb in 2016 from over 12 countries and 20 US States. With the large digital and print content spanning over 6 continents, the total media audience in 2016 was 77,201,424 (77 million).

The annual Fan Fest celebration in Downtown Colorado Springs attracted over 35,000 fans and spectators and had over 100 different vendors, exhibits, and race sponsors.

Megan has been the driving force in the success and the worldwide recognition for the event. She demonstrates unique working skills when working with drivers, crews, racers, race officials, volunteers and sponsors. Congratulations, Megan!

The Mayor’s Young Leaders Award (MYLA) recognizes the outstanding achievements in five categories: Future Industries, Economic Impact, Creative Industry, Innovation in Education and Innovation in Sports and Wellness. Read more about 2016 winners and nominees here.

2016 MYLA Economic Impact: Todd Baldwin

Todd Baldwin is the President of Red Leg Brewing Company which is a production brewery.

The brewery has been awarded two World Beer Cup medals, which is the largest beer competition on Earth. It has been an integral part of the community since day one helping and supporting military, veterans, veteran organizations, and their families. The brewery has donated thousands of dollars back into the community and is responsible for eleven wonderful families.

Todd founded the Southern Colorado Brewer’s Association which is a local non-profit organization to market and advocate for breweries in El Paso, Teller and Pueblo Counties.  He has also founded the Veterans Beer Alliance, a national organization that has members from all over the United States. They service customers not just from Colorado Springs but the entire Southern Colorado region. Congratulations Todd and thank you for your advocacy and support of the veterans.

The Mayor’s Young Leaders Award (MYLA) recognizes the outstanding achievements in five categories: Future Industries, Economic Impact, Creative Industry, Innovation in Education and Innovation in Sports and Wellness. Read more about 2016 winners and nominees here.

KOAA Receives Spirit of the Springs award

Local NBC affiliate KOAA received the Spirit of the Springs award for their incredible and continuous support in the branding of Colorado Springs as Olympic City USA!

David Reeve, Marketing Director at KOAA, served on the strategic task force.

Additional support from KOAA included the production and running of :10 second spots featuring top athletes declaring “Olympic City USA” as their training grounds. As the official station of the Olympics, KOAA continues to provide our residents with engaging, locally-tied programming, furthering excitement for the Olympic movement.

KOAA general manager Evan Pappas accepted the award on behalf of the station.

The City of Colorado Springs has a longstanding relationship with the Olympic Movement.  Since the United States Olympic Committee moved to Colorado Springs from New York and the Olympic Training Center opened in 1978 -- we have supported and cherished the Olympic dream. 

No other city in the United States can say that they are the hometown of the United States Olympic Committee and an Olympic Training Center. Peggy Fleming, Amy Van Dyken, Apolo Ohno, Rulon Gardner, Henry Cejudo lived and trained for their triumphs here. Michael Phelps, Mary Lou Retton, Michael Jordan, Jesse Owens…. the list could literally go on and on of  the Olympic Greats that have passed through our Olympic Training Center.

Very soon we will be home to the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame.

Mayor's Young Leader Awards 2016

 

Tuesday night the community celebrated young leaders who are making a positive impact within Colorado Springs. The Mayor’s Young Leaders Award recognizes the outstanding achievements in five categories: Future Industries, Economic Impact, Creative Industry, Innovation in Education and Innovation in Sports and Wellness.

2016 Winners 

Click on a name to read more about each winner.

Economic Impact: Todd Baldwin, Red Leg Brewing Company

Innovation in Sports and Wellness: Megan Leatham, Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

 Future Industries: Allison Plute, Colorado Springs Utilities

Creative Industry: Claire Swinford, Downtown Partnership

Innovation in Education: Brittni Darras , Academy School District 20

 

 

 

Nominees

Innovation In Education
Uses creative, non-traditional approaches to improve education;
An educator that is helping foster the future generations of innovative thinkers

  • Brittni Darras , Academy School District 20
  • Kelley Pomis, Teach For America
  • Hannah Widmer, The Arc Pikes Peak Region
  • Jami Sunkel, One Orbit
     

Creative Industry
An individual that is using creative methods/systems to transform their given industry;
Demonstrates the power of art and business working together to make a positive impact

  • Brett Andrus, The Modbo and S.P.Q.R
  • Claire Swinford, Downtown Partnership
  • Cyndi Parr, Dragon Theater and Elope, Inc
  • Daisy McGowan, UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art
     

Innovation in Sports and Wellness
Individual who has implemented compelling new ideas to deliver better sports/health and wellness initiatives in the community through their business/events

  • Kasey McClurg, Rocky Mountain Health Care Services
  • Megan Leatham, Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
  • Mina Liebert, El Paso County Health
  • Nathan Dirnberger, School District 11
     

Future Industries
Individual or Business focused on sustainability/innovation and creating a positive economic impact

  • Clay Guillory, Titan 3D Robotics
  • Allison Plute, Colorado Springs Utilities
  • Erin Miller, C-Trac

Economic Impact
An individual that has measurably impacted the local economy through their business or events
Outstanding contributions to the economy in terms of job growth or events increasing tourism dollars

  • Chef Brother Luck, Brother Luck Street Eats
  • Todd Baldwin, Red Leg Brewing
  • Sarah Humbarger, Downtown Partnership
  • Sean Fitzgerald, The Wobbly Olive
  • Rhea Phaneuf, El Pomar Institute for Innovation and Commercialization, UCCS​

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