As you can read in today's Independent, we've been trying to find out more about the downtown baseball stadium survey in which the Regional Business Alliance and Sky Sox are participating.
Although Mayor Steve Bach and City Attorney Chris Melcher apparently asked the two entities to take part, the city won't say anything about it. In response to questions about who's doing the survey, how much it's costing, who's paying for it and when it will be finished, the city issued this statement:
The community has heard from numerous Downtown ballpark proponents who believe that a new multi-purpose stadium would serve as a catalyst to revitalize downtown by drawing more people downtown and encouraging housing, retail, commercial and restaurant development in the immediate area. Several recent media reports and informal polls of readers and subscribers indicate a great deal of interest and support for such a project.
The City of Colorado Springs has asked the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and the Regional Business Alliance to participate in a preliminary study to determine the feasibility of building a new “state of the art” multi-purpose stadium in downtown Colorado Springs that could become the new home of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. We look forward to reviewing the results of that study when it is complete.
The City will have further updates to the community as relevant information is available.
Which doesn't tell us much.
Which is why we asked the city, under a Colorado Open Records Act request, to produce "any and all documents pertaining to the baseball stadium poll, to include emails, name of the pollster, how much the poll cost, who wrote the poll, attorney engagements and bills related to the poll, and any other records referencing the poll, including poll results."
Late yesterday, after our press deadline, we got a response. The city said its search of records found only one record responsive to our request, that being an e-mail from the Business Alliance to Bach that contains the survey link. It's the same e-mail sent to 5,000 alliance members and 40,000 Sox fans.
To see the e-mail, go here:
You would think that even the simplest of projects would create more of a paper trail than that. So, one is left to wonder: If that truly is the only record the city has, one of two things is happening: Either the city is dealing verbally only with whoever devised and is tabulating the survey, or some other entity or individual is funding and handling the survey off the books for Bach and the city.
But if this is such great idea, why all the cloak-and-dagger secrecy? Doesn't the public — those who will either make or break such a venture — have the right to know something about how this survey came to be, who's conducting it, when the results will be tabulated, and whether they'll be shared?