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'Champions' gets a boost 

A new analysis of Colorado Springs' revised City for Champions proposal greatly increases the amount of rebates for which the project qualifies. According to Economic & Planning Systems, Inc., the city should receive $53.1 million in tax revenue, or $1.77 million per year, compared to its earlier assessment of $31.4 million, or $1 million per year.

That's still far short of the city's request for $120.5 million.

In this round, EPS included some money for a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs sports medicine center, which it previously called too vague to be considered viable. EPS' revised analysis recommends the project receive $9.2 million over 30 years.

Although attendance estimates submitted by the city for an Olympic Museum were termed "aggressive" by EPS, the consultant also said they were "potentially achievable" and raised funding for that project from $20.8 million over 30 years to $28.3 million. And a downtown events center, which the city converted from a ballpark in its revision, was deemed worthy of $15.4 million over 30 years, roughly four times more than the initial $3.8 million.

On the flipside, EPS says an Air Force Academy visitors center now warrants only $260,870 over 30 years, rather than the $6.8 million originally allotted.

The city's updated proposal included a pledge from El Paso County leaders to help finance the project, using sales-tax money generated by the events center. This week, county spokesman Dave Rose explained that commissioners have tentatively agreed to pony up $1.4 million annually, or $42 million over 30 years. But Rose mentioned the deal would hinge on how much the state awards — the county's proportional amount cannot exceed that of the Springs or the state — and also on putting together an agreement with whatever entity will own the center.

On Wednesday, Dec. 4, City for Champions backers will make their pitch in person to the state Economic Development Commission. Members of the public can, too, whether they're for or against. To secure a speaking slot in Denver that day, first send an email to rtapublicinput@state.co.us. If you can't make the meeting, just submit your comments to that email address; they will be shared with the EDC's board.

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