Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Colorado Springs councilman launches survey to gauge support for downtown stadium

By Monica Mendoza Updated: August 13, 2013 at 4:49 pm 0

Colorado Springs City Councilman Joel Miller recently asked a few city staffers about the results of a survey on a proposed downtown baseball stadium.

No one knew anything, he said.

So Miller is conducting a survey of his own. (http://www.joelmillercoloradospringscitycouncil.com).

He posted just one question on his website Monday: "Do you support the 'City for Champions' proposal that includes public funding of a downtown Sky Sox stadium?"

"I just want to know what people are thinking," Miller said.

As of 7:30 p.m. Monday, a majority of the 279 respondents were against the project.

Miller knows the results are not scientific. But he is trying to get his finger on the pulse of his constituents in District 2, he said.

"I've seen a lot of discussion about (the City for Champions)," Miller said. "One of the things I promised in the campaign was that I would do intense research, I would apply relevant law and I would seek community input."

In May, Mayor Steve Bach launched a survey using the Sky Sox email list of 40,000 fans and the membership of the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance to gauge support for building a downtown baseball stadium. The city received about 2,000 responses to the 40-question survey, but the results have not been released and may never be. In July, the city denied The Gazette's request, under the Colorado Open Records Act, for the survey results, saying they're considered "confidential and privileged attorney work product which has not been disclosed to any third parties."

A downtown multi-use stadium - proposed as the home to the Sky Sox minor league baseball team - is among four tourism projects the city has pitched to the state for a state sales tax rebate program. The program allows municipalities to keep a portion of state sales tax generated from tourism projects that bring in out-of-state tourists.

The project also includes plans for a downtown U.S. Olympic museum, a sports medicine center at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, and a new Air Force Academy visitor's center.

Read more about the City for Champions project here.

City Attorney Chris Melcher said the survey was not meant to be community-wide. Instead, he said, it targeted Sky Sox fans and the business community. to gauge their support for a downtown stadium and determine what would be most and least exciting to them about the project.

The survey results were intended to be used in the city's application to the state for the sales tax rebates, but they didn't make it into the document..

Melcher said the results will now be used to design the structure of the potential stadium, including who would own the stadium and how it might be financed. The results also may be used to negotiate the terms of a potential deal, and therefore is still considered "work product," Melcher said.

Miller said his website survey is just part of the information he will need before he weighs in on moving the baseball stadium. He also wants to details on how the stadium would be financed and who would own it.

"I don't have enough information for me to be for it or against it," Miller said. "I need the full story. From my own constituents up north, people like (the baseball stadium) where is right now."

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