The president of Colorado College and six business and community leaders will discuss economic development along the Front Range and whether the City for Champions project can spur growth during a community forum Thursday.

The Community Conversation on "Economic Development in the 21st Century and City for Champions" will begin 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, and what is changing economic development initiatives in the future.

The Colorado Economic Development Commission in December awarded an estimated $120.5 million over the next 30 years to help finance part of the City for Champions projects, possibly including an Olympic museum and Olympic-style stadium.

Colorado College's Jill Tiefenthaler will serve as the moderator for the forum. Tiefenthaler teaches economics at Colorado College and was a provost and professor of economics at Wake Forest University before coming to Colorado Springs.

Panelists are:

- Joey Cheek, former Olympic medalist and Colorado Springs resident;

- Doug Price, president & CEO, Colorado Springs Visitors & Convention 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.

Past Community Conversations focused on homelessness, downtown Colorado Springs and the airport.

People attending previous forums indicated their desire for more discussion on economic development and City for Champions. The Gazette on Sunday published a special section, "Economic Development in the 21st Century," in part to respond to that interest.

Community Conversations forums are intended to address large and often divisive issues that affect the community.

As part of the forums, Food for Thought expands the dialogue and allows residents to offer possible solutions through the small-group discussions.



"Economic Development in the 21st Century and City for Champions"

When: Thursday; panel discussion and Q&A, 6-7:15 p.m.; small-group discussions, 7:15-8:15 p.m.

Where: Colorado College's Armstrong Hall, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St.

Note: Free and open to the public.

Sponsors: The Gazette, Colorado College and Food for Thought



- City for Champions has potential to change Colorado Springs' reputation, some say.