City for Champions
, a four-project tourism booster, is heading toward final approval by the state Economic Development Commission
, which meets July 9.
One of the chief features of the draft resolution — a document that sets out what the city must do to get $120 million
in state money over 30 years — is a clause that allows the city to dump one or more projects if things don't work out.
One possible dud is the Air Force Academy
's visitors center. Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson
is reviewing a business case report that looks at three locations for a new visitors center and likely will release the final version in coming weeks. Problem is, there's no money at the academy for such a project, especially when the officer school recently had to eliminate 10 degree programs and downsize by 99 positions to meet Pentagon budget cuts. That doesn't mean donations couldn't be used to fund it, however.
The three remaining site possibilities
, sources say, are outside the north gate, near the south gate and at the visitors center's current location deep onto academy grounds.
The other project that might not get traction is the downtown sports stadium
. It seems to be the one that's raised the most suspicions among citizens, and it's the one that requires 100 percent taxpayer funding.
The other two — a sports medicine center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
and a downtown Olympic museum
— seem to have their act together and are as close to sure things as you can get on something of this nature.
Expect to see some push back on the resolution, from people such as Bill Murray
, who ran for a City Council seat in 2013 but dropped out to make way for newcomer Joel Miller
from District 2, the north district.
Murray is a retired Army colonel who likes to do his homework, so he's put 2 and 2 together more than once on the C4C issue.
For example, he notes that Summit Economics
, which had a hand in the C4C application for state money, noted to Council that, "As the Olympicizing effort was based upon the notion that National Governing Bodies (NGB’s) and other Major Sports Organizations (MSO’s) would host national events at the CSEC [downtown stadium], the result was a dramatic increase in Net New Out-of-State Visitors (NNOSV) due to the enhanced vision."
OK. Murray says, except that "no commitments from any of these organizations" have been announced.
"Who are they kidding?" he tells us via e-mail. "Dick Celeste
[heading the museum project] at last month's regional meeting for C4C told me that he knew of no attempt by the USOC
[U.S. Olympic Committee] to get involved with the NGB's decisions."
The pertinent part of the resolution:
N. Before any use of RTA funds can be spent on the Colorado Sports and Event Center,
the facility must sign and provide to OEDIT, letters of intent, memorandums of
understanding, contractual agreements or other similar documents to host at least 20 Pre-Olympic and amateur sporting events such as Olympic Time Trials, Qualifiers, Playoffs and World Championship events that will draw participants from outside Colorado or other events and meetings associated with the Olympic Sports National
Governing Bodies for each of the first two years of Project operations. At least 10 of
these events each year must be new to the State of Colorado meaning that they have
not been previously hosted in Colorado within 5 years prior to the opening of the
Murray also notes that the so-called resolution is actually a contract, and City Code says, "No City contract shall be approved or executed under this section unless and until sufficient funds have been appropriated
by the City Council and are available for the contract."
Needless to say, the Council hasn't appropriated the $250 million necessary for C4C, Murray, notes and in fact the city lists only potential funding sources for the projects.
Here's the draft resolution that will be considered July 9 by the EDC.