City for Champions is organic
To those who question the motives and origin of the City of/for Champions concept, permit me to enlighten you.
The idea was born out of a desire by several prominent civic leaders to take advantage of the State of Colorado Regional Tourism Act (RTA) that provides incremental tax revenues to a city or municipality who builds a tourist attraction. None of these individuals have a financial stake in the concept.
The idea is that tourism money from outside the state of Colorado that is spent on local attractions can fund the development of the attraction without requiring residents to pay for such developments through taxes or fees. It is the Other Peoples Money (OPM) principle.
The City of/for Champions concept, while not perfect, forms the basis of an idea that has the chance to transform our city because it is founded on "organic growth."
No new businesses or organizations have to be lured to town; no tax rebate incentive have to be offered to get a corporation to move here from California or New York; no broad-based tax increases have to be promulgated. Organic growth is the best, lowest-cost, most effective way to grow a community.
So how is CFC "organic?" Simple, really. We are the home for many a champion athlete, both Olympic and professional, the home of the Sports Corporation, the USOC, and many national governing bodies of amateur sports. The USOC Museum is a natural extension of that. It's organic.
We are the home of the prestigious Air Force Academy. The current visitor center is "inside the gate" and tourism has declined dramatically since 9/11 due to security reasons. Putting a new visitor center "outside the gate" will make it easier and more attractive for tourists to visit the world famous Academy Chapel and beautiful grounds. It's organic.
The downtown stadium was conceived as a multipurpose stadium, not exclusively for baseball.
There a many local leagues and teams who compete in rugby, lacrosse, and soccer, with no real first-class larger scale stadium. These groups would benefit from a local venue and not have to drive to Denver or Pueblo for their inter-regional competitions. It's organic growth.
Lastly, the UCCS health center concept is expansion of the university's thriving school and by adding this new component will result in more attendance and visits from outside the community. It's organic.
So, if the plan can be executed, using world-class architects, tying the new facilities in to other city features such as America the Beautiful park, the Emerald Necklace concept, and a children's museum, and all built in the center of the city, other development will ensue. New restaurants, theaters, shops, and businesses will want to be near the city center, because people are coming to town and will spend money, resulting in incremental sales tax revenues, and we all benefit from that.
This is the transformation the early visionaries conceived and want for our city.
It's a transformation only someone from Pueblo could oppose.
Don Addy, Colorado Springs
Need for a consensus
Regarding Community Conversation, Sept. 22: The contrast in opinions is interesting, but neither side offers a complete solution.
We do need both funding and jobs. But the state funding and construction work are both temporary. In the end, what we most want is not people coming here for two weeks out of the year, but people coming to stay, work and earn. How to achieve that remains an unanswered question.
On the other side, leaving it entirely "to the private sector" may simply aggravate the business exodus we have seen over recent years. Government and private business are not mutually exclusive. They are two poles of human activity in constant tension. Both are needed to build a community, and a workable solution will always fall somewhere on the line joining them.
We need consensus between all parties concerned, wherever the initiative comes from.
Jacek Popiel, Colorado Springs
Put soccer stadium downtown
Maybe the proposed downtown arena ought to be redesigned as a soccer stadium, which would allow Colorado Springs to court a professional team in a sport that is growing like wildfire.
The recent and growing trend toward recognizing the dangers of repeated blows to the head is causing parents to increasingly choose soccer as a safer alternative to football, when seeking sports for their children. Longtime football fans are also turning away from watching an activity, which in the modern age of hyperstrong athletes, is wreaking havoc on the bodies of participants.
Furthermore, as our society continues its social revolution, soccer will most likely be the first major sport to be sexually desegregated, which will increase the female fan base of a professional league.
Finally, millions of immigrants from around the world, where soccer is king, are coming of age each year in the United States. They, and their parents, will drive demand for opportunities to see the professionals play the game.
Investing in a soccer stadium is a wise decision that would position our economy to take advantage of this impending change.
Steve Luera, Colorado Springs