Friday, February 28, 2014

Council gets an earful on City for Champions

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 11:46 AM

click to enlarge A town hall on City for Champions drew a crowd Thursday night. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • A town hall on City for Champions drew a crowd Thursday night.

It was a full house Thursday night at City Hall's Council Chambers for a town hall on the $250-million City for Champions proposal.

Opponents outnumbered those in support of C4C, 31-14, based on those who spoke. Five said they were undecided, including legendary long-time city manager George Fellows.

Fellow brought levity to the meeting after a very arduous walk from his seat to the podium. "I've got one speed," he said, "slow."
click to enlarge Former City Manager George Fellows was among 50 speakers. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Former City Manager George Fellows was among 50 speakers.
But his advice wasn't about the proposal so much as about the process. "Transparency is so important," he said. "The trust factor is the only way."

Fellows went on to say he wonders how the projects will compete, or if they will, with the funding of other city needs. Also, he asked, "If these projects don't produce the money they said they would, will tax money be used?"

Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, former Air Force Academy superintendent, spoke in favor of C4C, saying he's been disappointed "we're still having the discussion about whether to proceed."

Gould, who retired last summer, reportedly was in the inner circle of community leaders who compiled the project list, which includes a new academy visitors center, sports medicine center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, downtown Olympic museum and downtown sports and events stadium.

Lana Fore-Warkocz, with the newly formed Business Chamber of Southern Colorado, said she questioned the projects' ability to attract tourists.

"If I told my kids we're not going to Disneyland, we're going to UCCS..." she said, drawing laughter. She also asked why the projects can't be privately funded, and who would own the downtown stadium?

Council members didn't comment during the town hall.

For more information on C4C, go to the website set up by supporters. It's substantially changed in the last week. Local elected officials and others who back City for Champions will hold a public meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. on March 18 at the Regional Development Center, 2880 International Circle.

If you missed the meeting, Councilman Andy Pico will hold a public meeting next Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at the Stetson Hills Police Department, 4110 Tutt Blvd. Topics include: City for Champions, Drake Power Plant/Task Force and Southern Delivery System water pipeline. El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton also will be on hand.

Here's a list of other councilor town halls coming up:

Keith King:  March 12, 7-9 p.m., Cheyenne Mountain High School - Commons Area, 1200 Cresta Road.

Don Knight: March 13, 6-8 p.m., Fire Station 18, 6830 Hadler View.

Don Knight: March 20, 6-8 p.m., Mesa Conservation & Environmental Center, Conference Room 1045, 2855 Mesa Road.

Don Knight: March 31, 6-8 p.m. Fire Station 14, 1875 Dublin Blvd.

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