U.S. Olympic Museum organizers say they'll break ground June 9 on their $75 million project, which they expect will draw thousands of tourists to the Pikes Peak region each year and anchor a redevelopment of southwest downtown Colorado Springs.
A ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. that day at Sierra Madre Street and Vermijo Avenue, where the 60,000-square-foot venue will be constructed, said Andie Doyle, vice chair of the nonprofit museum's board.
The museum is envisioned as a showcase - through exhibits and displays - for the nation's Olympic and Paralympic movements. It will include a hall of fame, theater, exhibition hall and retail space.
The groundbreaking date was set to accommodate local officials and dignitaries who are expected to attend, Doyle said. Springs Mayor John Suthers will be on hand, she said; Gov. John Hickenlooper has been invited, although it's unknown if he'll attend.
Utility work already is underway at the site, and part of Sierra Madre is blocked off to traffic, Doyle said.
The museum is being funded by a mix of private donations that will total roughly $49 million and $26.1 million in proceeds from bonds issued by the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority.
The museum is part of City for Champions - a series of projects designed to boost area tourism.
Colorado economic development officials have approved the use of state sales tax revenue to help fund City for Champions; sales taxes collected over 30 years in a large portion of the Springs will be earmarked to pay off the bonds that are helping to finance the museum.
Colorado Springs has deep ties to the Olympics. The U.S. Olympic Committee has been headquartered in the city since 1978, an Olympic Training Center is here and about two dozen Olympic national governing bodies are based in the Springs.