January 21, 2014 Updated: January 23, 2014 at 5:46 pm
Can the proposed City for Champions tourism projects spur growth in Colorado Springs and along the Front Range well into the 21st century?
A group of community leaders will explore this question and others during a Community Conversation on "Economic Development in the 21st Century and City for Champions" at 6 p.m. Thursday at Colorado College's Armstrong Hall.
The forum will focus on what Colorado Springs should do to spur growth, especially considering the recent news about City for Champions (four projects proposed to drive tourism dollars), and what is changing economic development initiatives in the future.
The Colorado Economic Development Commission in December awarded an estimated $120.5 million over 30 years to help finance part of the City for Champions projects, possibly including an Olympic museum and multiuse stadium.
The Gazette and Colorado College are partnering with the nonprofit Food for Thought to present Community Conversations. The forums in 2013 were on homelessness, downtown Colorado Springs and the airport. Opinions on recent surveys distributed at the 2013 forums indicated the desire for more discussion on economic development and City for Champions.
On Jan. 23, Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler will serve as the moderator for the forum. Tiefenthaler has taught economics at Colorado College and was a provost and professor of economics at Wake Forest University before coming to Colorado Springs.
Panelists include Joey Cheek, former Olympic medalist and Colorado Springs resident; Doug Price, president and CEO, Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau; City Councilman Andy Pico; Joe Raso, president and CEO, Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance; James M. Stewart, president, Technology Vectors Inc. in Colorado Springs; and Linda Weise, founding executive director, Colorado Springs Conservatory.
The panel discussion will be 6 to 7:15 p.m., followed by small-group discussions led by Food for Thought at 7:15 p.m. Food for Thought is a program of the Diversity Forum.
Community Conversations forums are intended to address larger and often divisive issues that affect the community. As part of the forums, Food for Thought expands the dialogue and allows participants to offer possible solutions through the small-group discussions.
The Gazette also has been regularly presenting opposing opinions and readers' views on issues in its weekly Community Conversations on its Op/Ed page.