Springs mayoral candidates on exploiting Pikes Peak 

When the Independent interviewed the leading mayoral candidates recently, we asked one question that arose out of our perception that visitors to Colorado Springs have heard of Pikes Peak but sometimes are unaware that it's here. We asked the candidates what the city could do to better promote it.

"I think it could be part of a marketing plan," said former City Councilor Joel Miller, "but I don't think it's something that we need to spend an extraordinary number of dollars on." He added that he proposed to his wife atop the mountain and loves it. But, he said, "I don't believe that the government should be doing 'venture capital' investment."

"What's remarkable about Pikes Peak," said former Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, is its proximity to the city. "I think there's some things we can do, but I think you have to look at it as kind of a big-picture item" — one connected to the allocation of Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax proceeds, he said.

"We have this wonderful asset ... and we don't market it at all," said former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace. "We should have more recreation ... We need to finish that Ring Around the Peak, for the bike trail."

County Commissioner Amy Lathen might have been most excited by the question. "Pikes Peak is just sitting right here in front of us, as this massive asset," she said. "How about a Mayors' Pikes Peak Ascent?"

So, would other mayors come from other cities and race?

"Let's do that!" she said. "I'm there."

Over the next several weeks, we'll post more questions for the mayoral candidates, along with their answers. — RM

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