Susan Edmondson President and CEO of the Downtown Partnership
"I think we sometimes are overly critical of ourselves and don't step back to look at numerous positive changes. The investment to create America the Beautiful Park, which is a tremendous civic asset for the whole community. The growth of the restaurant scene certainly has been tremendous. Having the Wyndham Grand (hotel), a $30 million property, that's just opened downtown. The headquarters for the USOC (U.S. Olympic Committee) both being located here and the improvement of that footprint and that building. The streetscapes improvements. Certainly, the beautification with the flower beds and the pavers and how we've created a more pedestrian-friendly environment. All of that, I think we've got to remember that many, many things have happened before we say there hasn't been positive change, because I certainly find overall downtown more vibrant, vital and with a livelier street life than when I moved here 20 years ago."
Richard Celeste Former Colorado College president, Imagine Downtown co-chair and U.S. Olympic Museum advocate
"I'm not sure that there have been real downtown champions. So having three of four businesspeople who are going to champion downtown (is key), who get together at the El Paso Club or who get together at one of the restaurants and say 'what do we need for the next year or two? Who do we need to bring in to help make this place sing?'?"
Ryan Tefertiller Colorado Springs senior planner and author of the city's form-based code, designed to eliminate barriers to downtown development
"We did a lot about four years ago when we adopted the form-based zone for downtown. A totally different philosophy of zoning. It really helps reduce risk downtown. It helps promote mixed-use, promotes high-density uses. I think we've done more or less what we could as far as the zoning and entitlement phase. That came in the summer of 2009, which was not the best time for major investments over the last couple of years with the economy. But I think we're poised as far as zoning to allow some pretty great projects to move forward with minimal red tape and minimal process and minimal risk really as far as the entitlement process."
Sam Eppley Owner of Sparrow Hawk Cookware and board chairman of the Downtown Partnership
"Any of those (revitalization) plans, involving so many moving parts, require all the participants, whether they're governmental bodies, individual stakeholders - in other words developers or people who own that property - and the economy itself and the customer mood to all kind of be in alignment at the same time in order for it to really happen. You can't just have one aspect of that charging through. You kind of have to have everybody on the same page at the same time."
Lionel Rivera Former Colorado Springs mayor
"It seems that all the housing that we build downtown is very high end, very expensive. I think you have to build a product that a working-class resident can live in. Someone who's earning more than minimum wage of course, a working wage, but not necessarily an executive or a midlevel manager. If you can build a product that is more reasonably priced, you can bring a lot more folks that will work in the downtown area and they could live here. And then you'll see them walking the streets of downtown and going to shops and spending their money here instead of going someplace else."