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Assessor fined, Pride Fest a go, Broadmoor to buy Norris Penrose, and more 

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Assessor gets fined

Mark Lowderman, El Paso County assessor, has been fined $14,580 by a judge for campaign finance violations that occurred during the primary election for county treasurer.

In late May, Lowderman mass-mailed local seniors, reminding them about a homeowner tax exemption for which they qualified. Karon McCormick, an active Republican Party member, complained, saying the mailing was designed to support his campaign for treasurer, using county funding.

Lowderman, who won the primary and faces no opponent in November, says the complaint was "dirty politics." Sounding positive in a phone interview, Lowderman says he plans to appeal. McCormick argues that his odds of succeeding are nil.

"The only thing he can appeal is the judge's decision, and the judge has gone strictly by the law of campaign finance," she says.

Of the $14,580, half would go to the county to cover the cost of the mailing. — GS

Fire resources spread thin

Residents in north Colorado Springs will see Fire Station 22 open sometime next year, but it might not lead to better fire protection.

Speaking at Councilor Joel Miller's July 9 town hall meeting, firefighter Dave Noblitt said the city's plan is to open the station without its own apparatus; instead, it will use a four-person engine company transferred from Station 19, at 2490 Research Pkwy. No new staff will be hired.

Station 19 has one engine company and one truck company.

Noblitt told the 55 citizens on hand that the company officer will have to make a "best guess" at which apparatus to assign to Station 22.

Noblitt added that national standards call for 15 firefighters to be on the scene of a structure fire within eight minutes, 90 percent of the time, with two engines and one truck company. Fire crews have fallen short of city standards up north for six years running ("A splash of cold water," cover story, Dec. 11, 2013).

Miller, who represents northern District 2, told the Independent later he was surprised Mayor Steve Bach would ignore national fire standards in staffing stations. — PZ

Pride Fest a go

In the March 5 news story "Pride and payments," we told you that Colorado Springs Pride was struggling to pay the city back for services provided for the 2013 Pride Fest. Unless Pride could pay $6,401.14 in debt, plus half the estimated city costs of Pride Fest 2014, this year's celebration would be canceled.

Though they struggled to make timely payments, Pride came through in the end, paying their debt plus a $5,401.91 deposit. Pride Fest will take place July 19 and 20 in America the Beautiful Park; for more details on the event, see p. 22 and/or the Inclusion Awards booklet in this week's Indy. — JAS

Event center to Broadmoor

The Broadmoor Hotel plans to purchase the Norris-Penrose Event Center, located at 1045 Lower Gold Camp Road, from the nonprofit Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Foundation for an undisclosed price.

The 70-plus-acre property includes a stadium that can hold up to 10,000, a 36,000-square-foot special events facility, a 6,000-square-foot meeting facility, and stables. The deal will allow the rodeo to use the facility for two weeks each year to host its signature rodeo free of charge.

The property was once a public asset. The county agreed to sell about half of the 150 acres, then known as the Penrose Equestrian Center, to the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Foundation in November 2004 for $10 and the foundation's promise to spend $2 million on renovations of the property's stadium. The county agreed to chip in about $500,000 toward the stadium project at the time of sale.

Broadmoor CEO and president Steve Bartolin says as he understands it, the county gifted the property because it was losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and it badly needed repairs and upgrades. Bartolin says foundation leaders decided to sell it so they could focus more energy on helping military families and preserving Western heritage.

Anschutz Corp., the owner of the Broadmoor Hotel, has been on a buying spree in the last few years in Colorado Springs. The company, led by billionaire Philip Anschutz, has purchased the Gazette, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and naming rights to the Broadmoor World Arena. It is also in the process of purchasing Seven Falls. — JAS

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