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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.