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Petitions launched on stadium question 

Anita Miller scrambled over the weekend to supply volunteers with petitions for a ballot measure that would afford voters the chance to approve a city stadium and events center.

If they collect 14,482 valid signatures from Colorado Springs voters in the next 90 days, the measure will be placed on the April 7 city election ballot.

The petitions were approved on Friday, and Miller, wife of City Councilor Joel Miller, is upbeat.

"I've communicated with literally thousands of taxpayers," she said on Oct. 8, after the measure's title was approved. "I'm confident that the vast majority of citizens don't want to use city funds to build a $200 million stadium downtown that we will not own." She was referring to the all-in cost of the stadium, including financing charges.

The stadium is part of the City for Champions tourism package. Although the city has been assigned $120.5 million in state sales tax money over the next 30 years for its four attractions, that's only a portion of the funding needed. Under a state resolution outlining the funding, the stadium would receive about $28 million, meaning the balance would have to come from other sources.

City and El Paso County officials have said one source could be local sales and/or property tax increment financing, which would be handled by the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority. If Miller's measure is adopted by voters, use of urban renewal money for a stadium would require voter approval.

The measure is similar to a City Charter provision passed by voters in 2005, barring the city from building or funding a downtown convention center without voter approval. If the stadium is privately funded, the measure would have no impact, says petitioners' attorney Adam Foster.

Sunday via email, Miller wrote: "At the moment, the thrust of my effort is to get more volunteers and then get petitions to the volunteers — the more people gathering signatures, the better the chance of success."

Miller says volunteers have stationed themselves outside libraries, and have discovered that Walmart, Safeway and King Soopers don't allow petitioners outside their stores.

Information on the petition drive can be found at the Facebook page "Petition with a mission" (tiny.cc/zwzonx).

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