Highlighting the landslide problem
In the 33 years I've been associated with some of the Planning Commission's recommendations to the City Council, I don't think I have ever seen the council give one such a well-deserved thumbs down.
Obviously, the Planning Commission was way out of touch with the council and the citizens of Colorado Springs on the landslide issue.
Over the years, I worked with several Gazette journalists in an attempt to highlight the landslide problem. Billie Stanton-Anleu, however, takes first place in her series of in-depth articles. In those articles, she provided readers with detailed descriptions of the geological hazards; costs to taxpayers and the toll on home owners and their families.
These articles were, in my opinion, a catalyst in motivating the actions which culminated in the unanimous vote to pass the new landslides ordinance.
Kudos also to council members Don Knight and Charles Strand for their hard work in making it all happen and a friendly tip of the hat to our Councilman Keith King who voted for the ordinance.
These set of articles exemplify all the characteristics of first-class investigative journalism - a growing trend at the Gazette - which all of us applaud.
Sport provides city with benefits
After reading last Sunday's editorial "Council in a pickle over museum request", it is clear there are significant misunderstandings about the Pikes Peak Pickleball Association and its proven health and economic benefits to the City of Colorado Springs.
PPPA's nonprofit mission is to promote the sport through public education and training, as well as conducting amateur pickleball tournaments. Monies generated through tournaments, sponsorships, fundraising and grants are returned to the city through Parks & Rec for local court development, maintenance, and improvements.
There are over 2.46 million people playing this all-age, all-skill level racket game and it continues to be the fastest growing sport in America. PPPA is an inclusive association growing from a handful of players in 2010 to now over 600 local members - our youngest is 8, our oldest is 89. We offer free lessons at the courts and our volunteers teach children in elementary schools and seniors in retirement centers as keeping people active in the community is a huge health benefit. Pickleball was cited in the January city-sponsored study of the economic benefits of parks and recreation in Colorado Springs for not only its aerobic health benefits, but also as a specific example of the economic tourism-related contributions it makes to our city.
PPPA has conducted 7 major tournaments in the Springs since 2012. Last year's 5-day regional at Monument Valley Park brought 342 players plus friends/families from 25 states, Canada and Mexico. Using player survey data, the conservative model of our CoS Convention & Visitors Bureau showed $372,000 in tourism-related economic benefit. PPPA received a $5,000 competitive LART award to offset tournament expenses resulting in a 74-to-1 economic benefit return-on-investment for those LART dollars. Our seven tournaments from 2012-2016 gained $946,000 in economic benefit for our community!
From 2012 to 2015, the city spent on average $32,000 yearly to repair the 93-year-old "potholed" asphalt courts at the park to make them safe for public use. In partnership, PPPA and Parks & Rec developed a more cost-effective approach. Parks & Rec put $100,000 in the 2016 city budget for the concrete upgrade of the asphalt courts. In parallel, PPPA competed for and was awarded $25,000 in LART funding for the court upgrade. This $125,000 in "local tax funding" referred to in the editorial was matched by PPPA who raised an additional $81,000 from donations and tournament proceeds and $115,000 in grants.
PPPA is part of a large and ever-growing Sport that is providing significant health and economic benefits to our city. Our nonprofit organization proudly fits the very definition of LART funding quoted in your article: "to attract visitors to the City and the Pikes Peak Region, provide economic and cultural benefit, enhance the quality of life in the City, engage the community and encourage tourist activity."
Jeff Norton, President
Pikes Peak Pickleball Association
Important to report potholes
This thank you is long overdue. I keep the number for the pothole repair folks in my cellphone so I can report problems wherever I am driving, and have recently learned how to use the coloradosprings.gov web site as well. Every time I have reported a problem, repairs have been done within two days. I recently reported an area where there was some question as to whose jurisdiction the road was in, and received prompt and helpful replies from Chelsea Minnis, a dispatcher in the Public Works Operations and Maintenance Department. And the potholes were fixed the same day!
Clearly, Chelsea is only one part of a highly motivated and efficient team, and I would like to thank them all.
I realize potholes are a major irritant (witness the many letters to the editor complaining about them), but we can all be part of the solution. Call or use the website to report problems. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.