The Springs really is a City for Champions

The Gazette editorial Updated: December 4, 2013 at 8:36 am • Published: December 4, 2013 | 12:00 am 0

Weather permitting, an array of pro-community leaders who want good jobs and prosperity for Colorado Springs will be in Denver on Wednesday to pitch City for Champions to the Colorado Economic Development Commission. The pitch to obtain state tax rebates for four proposals that will grow the economy with tourism and new long-term jobs comes one day before the official announcement of plans for a professional men's soccer franchise to make Colorado Springs its home.

The City for Champions proposal includes a stadium for southwest downtown adjacent to a U.S. Olympic museum and 3,000-seat indoor arena. The developments would almost certainly revitalize that portion of downtown. The proposal also calls for a sports medicine center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and an Air Force Academy visitors center.

The proposed stadium, which would host an array of public events and facilitate Olympics-related activities, could become the soccer team's venue. Official details will be revealed at a 3 p.m. news conference Thursday at the Penrose House, 1661 Mesa Ave.

As Colorado's second-largest city, and home to about one in eight Coloradans, constructive developments in the Pikes Peak region stand to benefit the economy of the entire state.

Colorado Springs has the unique distinction as home to the United States Olympic Committee. It also hosts the U.S. Paralympics; the USOC's flagship Olympic Training Center; and 22 of the USOC's national governing bodies of Olympic and Pan Am Games sports. Additionally, Colorado Springs hosts almost 50 domestic and international sports organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the National Junior College Athletic Association, the Pacific Coast Baseball league, the Native American Sports Council and the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes.

Colorado Springs frequently ranks among the five fittest cities in the United States, sometimes topping the list. This community is all about sports and fitness, so potential uses for the proposed stadium and arena seem almost limitless on that basis alone.

Throw into the mix the merger of Memorial Health Systems with University of Colorado Health, combined with the institution's establishment of a new medical school at UCCS, and the value of a state-of-the-art sports medicine center at UCCS becomes obvious. It could be the veritable Mayo Clinic of sports medicine.

Also unique to Colorado Springs is the Air Force Academy, which ranks among the more prestigious institutions of higher education in the world. By creating a larger and more accessible visitors center, our community has the opportunity to leverage this asset in a manner that will make the academy more attractive to visitors and residents alike.

Our economy cannot flourish without local businesses and attractions that cause people to visit, relocate to the city and spend money here. Each of the four City for Champions proposals would benefit the greater community by generating economic activity.

Among those who will speak to the commission Wednesday will be a handful of anti-community naysayers who seem to think economies are a product of government mints and redistribution schemes. They will speak of these proposals as if they might somehow drain the wallets of taxpayers and consumers, when exactly the opposite is true.

City for Champions proposals are designed to attract investments that will leverage assets we already have, which are tried and true, along with new developments - such as the United Soccer Leagues PRO team few knew about until this week.

The City for Champions proposals stand only to bring more commerce, capital and tourism to Colorado. As home to some of the country's best and brights scholars, most talented young athletes and a growing university and medical school, we are a City for - and let's emphasize for - Champions. By investing accordingly, the rewards will be huge.

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