Pam, sometimes you are wonderfully dry and tongue in cheek.
I've worked with Aimee. She's a force of nature and a leader and if anyone can get this significant initiative off the ground it's Aimee. I'm proud to know her. Malthusian, you're a judgmental jackass. I'm only basing that off your creepy comments and misplaced moral righteousness and general ignorance. Oh, and Brandy is a good person also. Go get em Aimee! The people that matter need your help.
Tahama Springs is the "Springs" of Colorado Springs in Monument Valley Park and was wiped out in flood in 1965. This is putting the "Springs" back in Colorado Springs. Ring the Peak is a largely incomplete trail system around Pikes Peak that could be a great regional amenity (in some eyes) through a variety of improvements. Ski lift to bring a mountain bike up and ride down on the west side of town. Bike Master plan is exactly that--the master plan for biking in our community which is currently being redesigned. If you have a bike plan, great, but it doesn't do you any good if you can't implement it--creating/improving connections, improving trails, signage, etc. And redesign means rethink how the park is laid out to better serve the public's needs currently. Is Acacia at its best and highest purpose? How about Bancroft? Well, they've had plans and input and this is taking it beyond discussion to implementation. The point is we should have a conversation about these kinds of projects and educate the public more on these opportunities. Hope that helps clarify on some of these projects so you can vote and the larger point is can there be enough interest in the question for it to raise a larger community dialogue? Hard to have a "simple" survey with too much detail. This also doesn't include the details on the $, the specifics of the plan, etc. Its just designed to ask whether there is a desire for more conversation on investing in our community-and if so, what? At 550+ responses and 29 hours to go (closes Fri/midnight), it seems there is a desire and a demand to have this kind of discussion. Hope you weigh in!
I doing this out of personal curiosity and a desire to start a community conversation. I'm interested in knowing what WOULD you like to see us invest in as a community (if anything)? Oklahoma City revitalized itself by putting a list of 9 projects together that were appealing to various segments of the community (sports, shopping/dining, arts, historic, parks, etc) and packaged it as a finite, limited tax increase called MAPS. It changed the community and revitalized it in meaningful ways. Using councilmembers as project liaisons, it was possible to create meaningful relationships between elected officials in a positive and supportive way. That success created other successes in OKC. I believe Colorado Springs could and should do the same thing and I believe the public agrees. So I'm asking the question.
I put this list together in 5 minutes during a brainstorm with John Olson (we are on the board of Colorado Springs Urban Intervention together) and wrote the survey in about the same amount of time. I will publish the results publicly for all to see. My hope is it starts a meaningful community discussion regarding investment in Colorado Springs and gives some ideas to others about ways we could invest in ourselves-and raises awareness on some great projects out there! We need to talk about community investment if we want greatness. I hope this survey helps to shape the conversation between citizens and elected officials at some point and arms us all with some facts/ideas. If nothing else, it certainly is a question worth asking and the results should start people talking. It's already doing that. I'm going to close the survey Friday at midnight and publish the results on Saturday--for all to see. PLEASE HELP me share the link with your friends, networks, contacts, etc. Its over 425 responses as of this post. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/THTSXFH
City government that is more "efficient, sustainable and business-friendly"--minus a high-performing sustainability function that created more efficiency in government, and supported local businesses...
To be clear, I never provided a number of $250 per LED streetlight because that is not the number and corrected that figure was not mine when I was called. Not sure where it came from and I had left the city by the time the SST made their presentation to council. I believe the team did a good job overall and made some good recommendations, including that funding sustainability in Colorado Springs is important.
I believe LEDs (or a "white light" solution) are the right solution for Colorado Springs in the long run, but I never provided that figure (although the article implies that). LEDs should be considered as a short, medium and long-term solution and a closer inspection of the cost of implementation of a city-wide "white light" solution should occur because this is a $4 M annual bill paid by the City's general fund. LEDs are brighter, safer and use less energy, and conservation is at the core of conservative principles. So I agree with the committee's recommendation to take a strong look at LEDs, but the figures need INDEPENDENT REVIEW by professionals who do streetlights for a living, not city or utilities staff who have a vested interest in an outcome. The figures quoted by Rob Helt are accurate, but historical, and in some cases reference decorative lights (like those in the downtown), and are inflated by ARRA's Buy America provision and the limited purchase size of the LED orders. These figures would definitely be lower for community-wide solution (25,000 vs 600) vs a pilot and not constrained by federal grant requirements. However, since the Streetlight program is run by the Utilities (but the city pays the bill), the fox is guarding the hen-house in terms of streetlights, which is why our office pushed the LED issue--to start a community conversation about the fact there are options on how we light our community and how to reduce our energy use.
IMO, at least one position for "sustainability" should be funded by our City's general fund to support the enacting of sustainability goals that should be adopted by our mayor and/or council and put into department head performance plans--that means at least one person to support, monitor, track, partner and enact. Real support from leadership in our community for the first time in any meaningful way would make a huge difference to the reputation and perception of our community. We did it from the ground up and our sustainability efforts as an office created meaningful paybacks to the general fund and created a true connection point to our government for many. It was also the first time anyone bothered to monitor and track the city's utility usage. In some cases, municipal government and our utilities are the ONLY entities in our region that have the ability to enact important policy changes to land-use, infrastructure, water policy, etc that impact all of us, our gorgeous environment and our pocket books. And before anyone starts blathering about politics or UN Agenda 21, or any other ignorance-based "sustainability" bashing that I'm NOT talking about, let's be clear: Green is green. It does have paybacks in many cases if done properly, supports our amazing natural environment and its our responsibility to be good stewards for our citizens and our children. It does have a role in our government, and supports our schools (that have goals), our military (that has goals) and our citizens (many of whom have goals). I was proud to be a leader of this team before I left, proud to grow it from nothing as a grass-roots effort, proud to work with so many great people who care (in gov't and out), and I believe we have a responsibility to be leaders on this front, regardless of politics, mayors or councils.
I hope this article does create some meaningful discourse in our community about the role of sustainability in local government and our utilities, and particularly starts up a conversation on LEDs and the role for at least one staff member to support a community of 200 sq miles and 450 K people. Otherwise, its throwing good money after bad and mortgaging our future. Oh, and I would love to see the City restore dedicated bike staff to the roster and vocally focus on meaningful bike planning again since it lost its talented staff. Its important to so many young professionals, is an important part of our fitness culture and is important to connected, multi-modal living. Overall, well written article and I agree with most of the teams recommendations on sustainability--but let's step it up. It matters. Okay, rant over.
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