Political newcomer Lynette Crow-Iverson says Colorado Springs' economic environment calls for future City Council members to be business savvy.
Crow-Iverson, who aims to unseat Council President Pro Tem Jill Gaebler in the April 4 election, points to 18 years as president and chief economic officer of Conspire! as her qualification to help run the city. Conspire! does drug testing and background checks for employers.
"I believe Colorado Springs has many opportunities ahead of us," said the District 5 challenger. "And we have great momentum. We need really strong business people on council."
District 5 spans the Old North End and central parts of the city, stretching from Interstate 25 to North Powers Boulevard.
Crow-Iverson sees opportunities along North Nevada Avenue, where the city has launched a renewal effort to pump life into the area lined with dilapidated motels, an aging city power plant and other eyesores. She points to the south end of Nevada, where blighted buildings are being demolished to make room for fresh businesses and a makeover.
She foresees a boost to Colorado Springs' Olympic image with the U.S. Olympic Museum planned for downtown.
"Downtown is essential to strengthening the city's epicenter of commerce, culture and government," she said.
Other pending projects include a new visitors center to be built by the Air Force Academy and a $40 million sports medicine center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Crow-Iverson, who came to Colorado Springs in the early 1990s, said she sees immense opportunities from the technological boost provided by the National Cybersecurity Center that came to town in 2016.
"There are opportunities with that bringing in some really exciting companies and economic diversity around that," she said, repeating her campaign mantra of "opportunity, innovation and momentum" during a recent interview with The Gazette.
She said economic development and job growth need to be the city's top focus moving forward. Crow-Iverson wants to start with schools, making sure children are prepared with proper math, reading and science education so they can thrive in the modern workforce and have a future in Colorado Springs.
"They need to be able to say, 'Wow. I can do that here,'" she said.
While she is focused on economic growth and establishing a "business-friendly environment on council," Crow-Iverson also said the city must continue to commit to maintain large assets such as Garden of the Gods as well as smaller greenways and parks. She said she will encourage turning vacant lots into "community gardens, pocket parks and informal meeting spaces."
When it comes to fundraising, Crow-Iverson has been the star of the 14 council candidates running for six district seats, raking in more than $51,000 as of the March 1 reporting deadline. She and four others have had strong support from the Housing & Building Association. She is also one of four endorsed by the Colorado Springs Forward political policy group.
Crow-Iverson is the former board chairwoman for Colorado Springs Forward and also served on the boards of the Workforce Development and the Health Care Foundation.
The Gazette's Billie Stanton Anleu contributed to this report.