As the Pikes Peak region’s designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), PPACG is responsible for working with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to identify priority transportation projects for consideration of statewide funding. PPACG maintains a list of priority projects that highlights how I-25 is essential for public safety and to economic development as a vital commuter, freight, and recreational corridor.
While I-25 is six to eight lanes wide from just south of Castle Rock north through Denver and six lanes from the top of Monument Hill south through Colorado Springs; there is a seventeen mile “Gap” section between Monument Hill and Castle Rock that is currently four lanes, creating a roadway that does not adequately serve existing needs and will not safely and efficiently accommodate projected increases in travel.
As of December 14th, the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, acting for and on behalf of its affected local governments, hereby approves and adopts the I-25 “Gap” Improvement Construction Project between Monument and Castle Rock to the PPACG Priority Project list and names it the highest priority project for the Pikes Peak Region.
“The I-25 ‘Gap’ must be addressed as soon as possible for the safety and economic development of the entire front range corridor” said Councilmember Andy Pico, PPACG Chairman. “PPACG recognizes the importance to the Pikes Peak Region.”
As compensation for the benefits and privileges granted under this Franchise and in consideration of permission to use the City’s Rights-of-Way, Grantee shall continue to pay the City the sum of one dollar twenty cents ($1.20) per Subscriber per month as a franchise fee (“Franchise Fee”) until ninety (90) days after the Effective Date or July 1, 2017, whichever is later (“New Payment Date”). Commencing on the New Payment Date, Grantee shall pay the City an amount equal to three and one-half percent (3.5%) of Grantee’s Gross Revenues as aThe 89-page agreement will not dictate rates, and the company will have to answer complaints from customers.
Franchise Fee. The Franchise Fee shall be increased to four and one-half percent (4.5%) within one (1) year after the New Payment Date and shall be increased to five percent (5%) within two (2) years after the New Payment Date, provided that all other Cable Operators providing Cable
Services in the City are required to pay the same Franchise Fee rates (i.e. percentage of Gross Revenue and increases in such percentage) and commencing on the same dates as set forth in this Section 3.1. The Franchise Fee may be recovered from Subscribers by Grantee in accordance with Applicable Law.
On Thursday, the online mattress company Leesa donated 100 mattresses to Homeward Pikes Peak, a Springs-based housing program. The donated mattresses, valued over $20,000, will go directly to the program’s clients who are either: homeless; formerly homeless; struggling with mental health issues and/or addiction; leaving abusive relationships or are in other challenging circumstances. For many of the recipients, this is the first brand-new mattress they’ve ever owned.
“Can you imagine sleeping on the ground for a year or longer?” Laura Fonner, executive director of Homeward Pikes Peak, asked rhetorically at a reception to celebrate the donation, according to the organization's press release. “Currently we reach out to the community for mattresses and it’s hit or miss. With this donation, our clients can finally get some good sleep and that’s important to their recovery in all aspects.”
Homeward Pikes Peak offers myriad housing programs that serve 84 individuals and households at a given time in addition to operating an outpatient clinic specializing in women’s services. Overall, there are over 1,300 homeless people in Colorado Springs according to the latest Point In Time count. Among that group, 227 have chronic substance abuse issues, 311 have a serious mental illness, and 168 are veterans and family members.
Please make your voices hear to City Council / the Utilities Board members to let them know you care about government transparency and our energy future!
Use your 3 minutes of public comment allotted to each of us to let them know that withholding air quality reports (that we, ratepayers paid for), and punishing the person who has been trying to seek public access to that information IS NOT OK! Let them know that:
We need full government transparency about our energy and air quality information.
They should not punish citizens who are simply trying to ensure access to air quality information.
We want more clean energy in our utility's portfolio, we don't want resources spent to ensure coal and fossil fuel energy sources continue to fuel our city when less polluting alternatives are available NOW! Our rates should be used for cleaner energy that will not poison our community, as the downtown Martin Drake Plant does!
To learn more, and if you haven't signed already, please see the Petition about this travesty of justice and abuse of government power.
Call Amy Gray with questions or for more details at 719-650-0259.
GOCO awards $250,000 for Ring the Peak planning, conservation work in El Paso Countyinformation.
DENVER – The GOCO Board awarded four grants totaling $250,000 [recently] to projects in El Paso County.
The City of Colorado Springs, in partnership with the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC), received a $100,000 grant for the Ring the Peak Trail; El Paso County received two grants—a $75,000 habitat restoration grant for greenback cutthroat trout on Bear Creek and $45,000 in Youth Corps funding for Black Forest trails and forest restoration; and the City of Manitou Springs received a $30,000 Youth Corps grant for Intemann Trail.
The grant for the Ring the Peak Trail is part of GOCO’s new Connect Initiative trail planning grant program, which provides funding for trail projects for design, engineering, and master planning.
The grant program was created to help municipalities and their partners navigate the often complicated planning process for trails, from regional networks to first-ever master plans in communities new to trail building. The program will help trail projects get shovel-ready for construction grants also offered through Connect.
Ring the Peak is a vision decades in the making to build a contiguous trail loop around Pikes Peak. GOCO funding will hire a planning consultant to help TOSC navigate the environmental and trail alignment obstacles the group has faced, moving the project forward and facilitating the completion of the final 8- to 12-mile gap on the southwest portion of the trail.
TOSC and Colorado Springs hope to finish the trail plan by the end of 2017. Ring the Peak is one of Governor Hickenlooper’s “16 in 2016” priority trails.
Elsewhere in Colorado Springs, El Paso County received a habitat restoration grant to support the greenback cutthroat trout population in the reach of Bear Creek running through Jones Park.
In 2016, GOCO doubled funding for the habitat restoration program, which funds projects that remove invasive plant species, protect Colorado’s water supply, mitigate fire fuels, and perform other critical restoration work.
Bear Creek supports the only naturally reproducing, genetically pure population of greenback cutthroat trout in North America. The trout, which is Colorado’s state fish and listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, has been negatively impacted by excess sediment in the stream.
GOCO funding will help the county conduct a full stream survey, producing a detailed implementation plan to remove sediment and optimize the river conditions for the trout, helping ensure its long-term survival. The project also hopes to reduce the spread of aquatic diseases and overall contamination of the stream.
El Paso County also received a $45,000 Youth Corps grant for trail work and forest restoration in Pineries Open Space and Black Forest Regional Park. Crews from Mile High Youth Corps-Southern Front Range (MHYC-SFR) will mark and clear trails, construct and close trails, and thin standing trees.
Corps members will work within Black Forest Regional Park along the Palmer Divide northeast of Colorado Springs and at Pineries Open Space. The project will improve water quality, reduce stormwater runoff, improve wildlife habitat, improve public access, and assist with continued recovery from the Black Forest Wildfire of 2013.
The City of Manitou Springs received a $30,000 Youth Corps grant for a four-week fire mitigation project on Intemann Trail. Historic Manitou Springs is in an area prone to wildfires, and crews from MHYC-SFR will work to create the critical fire break along the trail on the city’s southern boundary.
GOCO awards Youth Corps funding through the Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA), a statewide coalition of nine accredited youth corps groups that engage and train youth, young adults, and veterans (ages 14-25) to work on land, water, and energy conservation projects.
Corps members earn a stipend for their full-time service and an AmeriCorps education award to use toward college or trade school. The organization serves 1,700 young people annually.
To date, GOCO has invested $51.6 million in El Paso County projects and has conserved more than 8,000 acres of land. GOCO funding has supported Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Ute Valley Park, the reconstruction of the Incline, and Colorado Springs’ Legacy Loop trail, among other projects. The Pikes Peak Region was also recently named a GOCO Inspire community and is part of a $25 million initiative to get kids outside.
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 4,800 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more
Innovation in Education: Brittni Darras, Academy School District 20
After learning one of her students attempted suicide, Brittni Darras, Rampart High School English teacher and Varsity Cheer Coach, decided to do something. She wrote a letter. That letter detailed how her student was important to her. After receiving that letter, Brittni’s student told her it helped save her life and gave her the courage to push forward. Brittni then decided to write more letters and her letter writing campaign was so impactful that it was featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America and in The Washington Post. The Pikes Peak Region has the highest rate of teen suicide in the country and Brittni provided a shining example that one person really can make a difference. She volunteers with Safe2Tell, an online anonymous program that empowers students, teachers and others to report important information about violent or troubling events before or after they have happened.
Creative Industry- Claire Swinford, Downtown Partnership
Claire is most at home wearing several different hats on a weekly basis, working with artists, athletes, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, developers, government officials and community advocates to celebrate Colorado Springs’ cultural vibrancy and make it more accessible and inclusive for visitors and residents from all walks of life. Claire serves as Urban Engagement Manager for the Downtown Partnership and administers Downtown as a state-certified Creative District and directs the legacy public art program Art on the Streets. Her proudest accomplishment in 2016 was facilitating a group of volunteers to bring the participatory public art project UNITY to Colorado Springs for the What IF Festival, where over 1,000 people participated in the creation of a giant sculpture symbolizing the interconnectedness of our community despite differences of belief, language or national origin.
Economic Impact- Todd Baldwin, Red Leg Brewing Company
Todd Baldwin is the President of Red Leg Brewing Company, which has been an integral part of the community since day one helping and supporting military, veterans, veteran organizations, and their families. Todd has founded the Southern Colorado Brewer’s Association which is a local non-profit organization to market and advocate for breweries in El Paso, Teller and Pueblo Counties. He has also founded the Veterans Beer Alliance, a national organization that has members from all over the United States. They service customers not just from Colorado Springs but the entire Southern Colorado region.
Innovation in Sports & Wellness- Megan Leatham, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Megan is one of handful of women running major motorsports events in the United States. She is the Executive Director of America’s second oldest automobile race, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Her outside-the-box thinking helped the race enjoy phenomenal growth and recognition. 2016 saw some of highest numbers in attendance figures in over 2 years. Megan has been the driving force in the success and the worldwide recognition for the event.
Future Industries- Allison Plute, Colorado Springs Utilities
Allison has spent over 10 years engaging the community in conservation education and outreach, specifically focusing on our community's precious water resources and stewardship of our local watershed. Her consistent willingness to drive sustainable solutions and tackle any project makes her an ideal community partner and an asset to Colorado Springs. Allison has served as a steering committee member of Pikes Peak Earth Day. She is a member of the Colorado Association for Environmental Education, and a member of the National Association for Interpretation.
We didn't know whether to be honored or once again rolled when the mayor inserted himself into the "citizen discussion" on Tuesday. Probably the latter. A couple of comments about what the mayor claimed.
I assume you picked up on the fact that the 16 successful land exchange figures he touted included the current Broadmoor swap. In fact, it is about 80% of the total. Most of other 15 swaps were really fairly minor and the majority of them would have been covered by the exceptions we spelled out in our proposed ballot measure. The two big exceptions to the exceptions were the swaps with Lyda Hill involving Seven Falls and the reroute of 30th Street to accommodate the parking for the new Garden of the Gods visitors center. And, yes, those probably should have gone to a vote of the people.
When the mayor talked about future good swaps that were about to happen, I believe he was referring to a proposed change in the location of the yet-to-be-built Larry Ochs sports complex. We included land obtained through the PLDO [Park Land Dedication Ordinance, which requires developers to dedicate land in their developments] process in the list of exceptions saying it was not protected until the park was actually built and dedicated. That would have allowed this exchange to take place [Larry Ochs complex exchange].
I would ask you to be very careful. Yes, we all know of our tremendous park system. The city has used land exchanges to enhance the system many, many times, and we don’t want to take that away. The court has held that land transactions are inherently administrative. Council is wholly competent to make these decisions. I want to make sure and ask you to spend some time talking to the parks department about how land exchanges are performed. Historically, the city has used land exchanges… to the great benefit of the parks department.
I will tell you there’s a couple of land transactions that I’m confident you will unanimously think are in the interest of Colorado Springs, but it involves acting very quickly. And the developer isn’t going to sit around for two years for an election," Suthers said. "I personally believe it would be very bad public policy to say transactions of this nature have to go to the voters. You are incredibly competent to make these decisions.
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