The Colorado Springs City Council ensured the community’s future as the growing hub of U.S. military space operations. It voted 8-1 on Tuesday against an appeal of The Broadmoor’s expansion plan.
At issue are plans to expand Broadmoor Hall with 93,500 square feet of additional exhibition space. Broadmoor Hall houses the annual Space Symposium, hosted by the Springs-based Space Foundation. It is the world’s premier aerospace convention and expo. The symposium brings about 6,000 people a day for four days to the Broadmoor, owned by the parent company of Gazette owner Clarity Media.
Having outgrown Broadmoor Hall, much of the symposium takes place in a tent. The expansion replaces the tent, which has been vulnerable to high winds, and ensures the symposium can continue in the Springs. Expansion will also help the Broadmoor compete for additional conventions and expos throughout the year, which will create jobs and infuse outside capital into the local economy. Everyone wins.
“Based on testimony from neighbors and realtors, Broadmoor expansions in the past have increased the value of property throughout the Broadmoor neighborhood,” said Councilman Wayne Williams. “I think this enhances the neighborhood.”
Council President Richard Skorman voted to reject the appeal, but asked the Broadmoor to work with the neighborhood to address concerns about shuttle traffic on Cheyenne Boulevard. That’s a fair request. If Broadmoor executives take this advice, they should remind the neighborhood that shuttles reduce traffic. One shuttle can eliminate a dozen or more single-occupant car trips.
Councilman Bill Murray provided the only opposition to the expansion, offering a surprising explanation.
“This distracts us from the bigger picture of where this community is going with a convention center,” Murray said. “This cannot replace the convention center we need downtown … ”
This, from a politician opposed to every major public works project the city embarks upon. A self-appointed champion of people abused by the taxes and government authority, Murray somehow favors tax-funded expo space over a project funded entirely with private investment at no expense to the working class. How odd.
Councilwoman Jill Gaebler expressed hopes for a downtown convention center “surrounded by hotels.” She explained what Murray does not get.
Colorado Springs, she said, “can support both.”
Exactly. Growth is never a zero-sum game. To understand this, consider beer. When Colorado allowed full-strength beer sales in grocery stores last year, for better or worse, opponents feared the new option would kill small liquor stores. A grocer’s gain would be a liquor store’s loss. As reported by Colorado Public Radio Tuesday, beer sales have increased statewide by 20% since the law took effect. Colorado is not seeing boarded-up mom-and-pop liquor stores. Just more sales.
Broadmoor expansion does not come at the expense of future hotels or event centers. Economic growth typically begets more economic growth. That is why competing businesses so often congregate in common locations, creating hubs that attracts regular customers with common wants and needs.
The Broadmoor’s expansion plan will make Colorado Springs an even better destination for conventions. That means more demand for direct flights to Colorado Springs. More flights to the airport makes the city more attractive for convention planners, meaning more demand for hotels and better justification for a convention center.
Well-planned growth lifts all and impoverishes none. The council did the right thing Tuesday. It voted for a future of more jobs, better wages, and economic activity that will help all residents of Colorado Springs.