Sports

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

VetFest welcomes veterans to Sky Sox Stadium for tournament, resources

Posted By on Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 5:26 PM

vetfest_flier_printable.jpg
At the Wounded Warrior Project's first-ever VetFest on Aug. 4, attendees can catch up on Veterans Affairs information, slide into new opportunities, and maybe even hit a career home run.

Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at Sky Sox Stadium, veterans and their families will enjoy a softball tournament while taking part in a Veterans Affairs town hall and claims clinic, a career fair with more than 40 local employers, and a resource fair with up to 50 service organizations. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from vendors.

The event, also sponsored by the state and local posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, is free for all attendees, including the general public.

"It’s a chance for veterans to go to one location, get information about the VA, register with the VA and link up with all of the resources that are available to them here in the local community," says Veterans of Foreign Wars District 5 Commander Anthony Archer. "Plus the comradeship of veterans from all generations getting together."

And a dose of friendly competition: The Colorado Springs Fire Department, Wounded Warrior Project and Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center are among the organizations vying for victory in the all-day softball tournament.

Here's the full schedule from the Colorado Springs Sky Sox:

9 a.m. Doors Open

10 a.m. Softball Tournament, Job Fair, Town Hall Begins

12 p.m. Claims Clinic / Mobile Clinic Opens, Town Hall Ends

2 p.m. Job Fair Ends

4 p.m. Championship Game Begins, Claims Clinic / Mobile Clinic Ends

4:50 p.m. Trophy Presentation, Closing Remarks
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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Colorado Sports and Events Center stadium, arena to host Switchbacks, Colorado College hockey downtown

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 2:35 PM

Digital rendering of the proposed outdoor downtown stadium. - CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • City of Colorado Springs
  • Digital rendering of the proposed outdoor downtown stadium.

The city's new stadium project, which has been in the works for years and generated debate over funding, will consist of two separate facilities — an outdoor downtown stadium that will host the Colorado Springs Switchbacks soccer team and an event center for the Colorado College ice hockey team, the city announced July 25.

The Colorado Sports and Events Center project, one of four elements of the City for Champions plan, will be funded by a mix of public and private money.

State Regional Tourism Act sales tax dollars to the amount of $27.7 million are designated for the stadium. The Colorado Springs Switchbacks will contribute $10 million, and Weidner Apartment Homes will pay $40 million to build an adjacent mixed-use development project, according to a statement from the city. The total cost for the stadium and development is estimated at $60 million.

The indoor arena will cost around $39 million, and will be paid for by $9.2 million from the state and the rest from Colorado College.

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a lot of hard work and incredible collaboration between a number of private partners," Mayor John Suthers is quoted in the statement. "While this project represents a significant benefit to our city’s economy and cultural and sports offerings, we have remained committed to the desire of our voters to accomplish this feat through private partnerships and investments and not with local general fund tax money.”

The stadium, which will accommodate audiences of up to 10,000 for sporting events and up to 20,000 for concert events, will be located on the CityGate property downtown, bordered by Cimarron Street to the North, Moreno Avenue to the South, Sierra Madre Street to the West and Sahwatch Street to the east, according to the city's statement.

The Switchbacks will allow Weidner Apartment Homes to name the stadium and assume a minority ownership position at the soccer team, Greg Cerbana, the company's vice president of public relations and government affairs, said at a press conference July 25.

The Switchbacks' current home at Weidner Field has a 5,000-seat capacity, and average attendance was around 3,500 last season, according to James Ragain, the team's executive vice president.

Josh Keller, vice president of business development for United Soccer League, pointed out the league's growth — nationwide, attendance increased 50 percent since last year, to an average of 5,000 visitors per game — and lauded the city's support of the stadium project.

"USL views soccer-specific stadiums as one of the key drivers of growth," Keller said. "We’ve witnessed how a new stadium can energize both a city’s fan base, as well as the local community."

Digital rendering of the proposed Robson Arena. - CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • City of Colorado Springs
  • Digital rendering of the proposed Robson Arena.

The indoor arena will feature 3,000 permanent seats. Named for Colorado College alumnus Edward J. Robson, it's planned for the block bordered by Nevada Avenue and Cache La Poudre, Tejon and Dale streets.

Representatives from Colorado College emphasized that the arena would continue the school's commitment to sustainability with environmentally friendly architecture, and would include state-of-the-art equipment.

"While it’s been a great two decades at Broadmoor Arena, we need to recognize that Colorado College has sponsored Division 1 hockey for almost 80 years but has never had an on-campus home of its own,"  added Ken Ralph, the school's director of athletics. "And our student body has never had the on-campus athletic experience our peer schools enjoy."

The city's proposal isn't final, and still has to go before the state's Economic Development Commission for approval in September.

"Our downtown...is undergoing a dynamic transformation, and these projects will only add to the vitality of the heart of our city," Suthers said at a press conference July 25.

City and college officials say they've looked into parking and traffic feasibility near the two facilities. Bob Cope, the city's economic development manager, says the city is "strongly looking into" building a 900-stall parking structure for the stadium across the street from the Olympic Museum. There's currently 8,000 spots within three-quarters of a mile of the stadium, he says.

Colorado College commissioned a parking and transportation study that showed even when the students were in session, there were 50 percent more spaces than necessary for the proposed project, Ralph said in an email. He added that arena parking would primarily be college lots, with some street parking. The college doesn't plan to build a parking structure.

Ralph says the school would also run shuttles to downtown from "a few different spots" and provide incentives for people to use ride-share apps.

"Even though we have enough parking we would still like to utilize multiple options to get people to the site to stay as congestion-free as possible and provide a positive experience for people coming to events," he wrote.

Jeff Greene, the city's chief of staff, said planners believed changing traffic patterns on Cascade Avenue could actually "enhance" the project.

The city plans to downsize several streets in the Old North End neighborhood, including:

• narrowing Cascade Avenue this year to two lanes (from four), adding buffered bike lanes and parking in each direction.
• narrowing Fontanero Street, between El Paso Street and Wood Avenue, to two lanes, adding buffered bike lanes, and a center turn lane in 2019.
• narrowing Weber Street, between Colorado Avenue and Jackson Street, to two lanes, with a center turn lane and bike lanes in 2020.

The City for Champions project, pursued by local leaders since 2013, consists of four planned projects: The United States Olympic Museum, Colorado Sports and Event Center, USAFA Gateway Visitor Center and William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center.

In an interview last week with the Independent, Suthers mentioned that tax-increment financing could play a role in the project. (That local tax money allows developers to apply increases of sales tax revenues in excess of the existing base in the urban renewal area to public infrastructure that enables development of the project.)

However, there was no mention of that type of financing in the official announcement.

More details on funding from the city:

Economic Benefit

Economic impact of the Sports and Event Center project is forecasted at $32 million annually and $1 billion over 30 years. The project is also estimated to generate $1 million dollars in new city sales tax revenue each year and is anticipated to generate over 650 new jobs.
This project impact is a vital part of the combined impact of the four City for Champions projects, which are forecasted to:

· Boost the region’s $1.35 billion annual tourism industry
· Attract about 1.2 million visitors each year
· Add more than 500,000 new out-of-state visitors annually
· Increase retail sales by $140 million each year
· Increase gross metropolitan product by $217 million annually
· Add $4.4 million in new sales tax revenue for the city annually
· Add $2 million in new sales tax revenue for the county annually
· Leverage a $120.5 million state tourism improvement rebate
· Allow 23 local TEAM USA National Governing Bodies to host Pre-Olympic and World Championship events here
City for Champions will brand Colorado Springs as Olympic City USA, and invite national/international sports performance and medicine entities to the city–to compete in events and do business.


Funding


The State RTA funding will be approximately $27.7 million over 30 years. Two-thirds of the revenue, approximately $18.5M, will be dedicated to the outdoor stadium and will support a bond of approximately $10M. One-third of the revenue, or approximately $9.2M, will be dedicated to the indoor arena and will be distributed to Colorado College as the revenue is received. Private investment from the project partners will make up the difference to complete the projects.


Downtown Stadium


The cost of the outdoor stadium is estimated at approximately $20 million plus a mixed use development project costing approximately $40 million for a total of $60 million. In addition to the $10 million in state RTA bond funding, the Colorado Springs Switchbacks will be contributing another $10 million and Weidner Apartment Homes $40 million.

Events Center

The indoor events center will cost approximately $39 million with $9.2 million funded by the state RTA bond proceeds. The balance (approx. $30 million) will be provided by Colorado College.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Sky Sox could be renamed for edible testicles and you've got to be kidding us

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2018 at 4:42 PM

click image Batter up! ... There's a 1-in-5 chance that the Springs' new minor league baseball team will be named for testicles. What would the team's logo and mascot look like? - PERETZ PARTENSKY / FLICKR
  • Peretz Partensky / Flickr
  • Batter up! ... There's a 1-in-5 chance that the Springs' new minor league baseball team will be named for testicles. What would the team's logo and mascot look like?

Four years ago, my brother, who lives in El Paso, Texas, was beside himself with disgust when the minor league baseball team there changed its name from the Diablos, which is very cool, to the Chihuahuas.

I thought at the time, "That's the worst name I could possibly think of for a baseball team."

Until now.

The Sky Sox, a very cool name for a baseball team, especially one from a city that sits at an elevation of 6,000 feet, has narrowed suggestions for changing the name to five finalists.

All I can say is: "Are you kidding me"?

Here are the finalists in alphabetical order, according to a news release:

Colorado Springs Happy Campers
The Happy Campers: celebrates Colorado Springs' positive attitude and our love of nature, camping and all things outdoors.

Colorado Springs Lamb Chops
This name is a nod to the World Famous Colorado Lamb. We've got the chops!

Colorado Springs Punchy Pikas
A small but fierce critter that calls Pikes Peak home, known for its iconic forceful bark.

Colorado Springs Throttle Jockeys
This is a tribute to our brave pilots who train and call Colorado Springs home.

Rocky Mountain Oysters
"It's a classic Minor League Baseball name in the making, this original cowboy fare has already been made famous at Colorado fairs, festivals and baseball games," the news release states.

And here's where you can vote through August 1.

Our take:

Happy Campers — yawn.

Lamb chops? That name certainly would strike fear in the hearts of their opponents. NOPE.

Punchy Pikas? Too cute, but not really.

Throttle Jockeys — um, don't look it up on the Urban Dictionary. Seriously, don't.

And lastly, do we really want our baseball team named for testicles? We realize that baseball is an all-male sport, but testicles? Geez. It just opens every mention up to "ball" jokes, leaving every pervert with their mind in the gutter to make fly-ball, foul-ball, ground-ball comments and so on.

Don't even get us started talking about how "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" will become adulterated.

Is it too late to head back to the drawing board?

In any event, after this season, the team moves from Triple A status to pioneer league, meaning the season is shortened, and the talent is lower on the totem pole of minor league baseball.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Big events close roads in June

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 5:46 PM

During the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Fan Fest, there will be closures on Tejon Street, Pikes Peak Avenue, Kiowa Street and Bijou Street. - CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • City of Colorado Springs
  • During the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Fan Fest, there will be closures on Tejon Street, Pikes Peak Avenue, Kiowa Street and Bijou Street.
Between the June 20 Western Street Breakfast, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb this weekend and the U.S. Senior Open Championship next week, the city may seem a bit like a maze this month.

To minimize road rage, here's some closures to keep on your radar for the next couple of weeks:

Friday, June 22:
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Fan Fest

Closed from 1:30 to 10 p.m.:
  • Tejon Street, from Colorado Avenue to Platte Avenue
  • Pikes Peak Avenue, from Nevada Avenue to Cascade Avenue
  • Kiowa Street, from Nevada Avenue to Cascade Avenue
  • Bijou Street, from Nevada Avenue to Cascade Avenue
Sunday, June 24:
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
  • The Pikes Peak - America's Mountain Highway will be closed to visitors.
The U.S. Senior Open Championship will cause a web of road closures. - CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • City of Colorado Springs
  • The U.S. Senior Open Championship will cause a web of road closures.

Monday, June 25 - Sunday, July 1: U.S. Senior Open Championship

Closed from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. (June 24-July 1):
  • West Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard, from Mirada Road to Penrose Boulevard
Closed from 6 a.m.-8 p.m. (June 24-June 29) and 7 a.m.-8 p.m. (June 30-July 1):
  • El Pomar Road, from Penrose Boulevard to Mesa Avenue
  • Pourtales Road, from Beech Avenue to Mirada Road
  • Mirada Road, from Pourtales Road to West Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard
  • First Avenue, from Lake Avenue to Broadmoor Avenue
  • Second Street, from Lake Avenue to Broadmoor Avenue
  • Second Street, from Lake Avenue to Elm Avenue
  • Third Street, from Lake Avenue to Elm Avenue
  • Fourth Street, from Lake Avenue to Elm Avenue
  • Berthe Circle, from Lake Avenue to Elm Avenue
  • Berthe Circle, from Lake Avenue to Broadmoor Avenue
  • Briarwood Place, from Lake Avenue to Broadmoor Avenue
  • Tanglewood Drive, from Lake Avenue to Broadmoor Avenue
  • Hutton Lane, from Lake Avenue to Broadmoor Avenue
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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Bike to Work Day: Why and how to register

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2018 at 12:53 PM

Back in 2015, UCCS grad Stacy Sprewer set out to bike accross America to support affordable housing. Which kind of makes riding to work on one day out the year seem more doable. - RYAN LANCASTER
  • Ryan Lancaster
  • Back in 2015, UCCS grad Stacy Sprewer set out to bike accross America to support affordable housing. Which kind of makes riding to work on one day out the year seem more doable.


Your daily commute is on track to get interesting June 27, as the city ramps up its annual Bike to Work Day event with multiple breakfast locations around the city and a corporate competition.


This year, you can register for free breakfast at one of 28 locations, many of which also offer games, prizes, bike repairs, music and more. Some spots are at businesses, others at trails and parks. It’s a big change from two years ago, when breakfast was served at one centralized, downtown location — making it difficult for riders in other parts of the city who weren’t interested (or didn’t have the stamina) to bike all the way downtown and then to work.


After expanding the event to 18 locations last year proved successful, the city is adding even more spots for riders to replenish lost calories.


“The new model will support a higher level of engagement across a wider section of our community,” said Allen Beauchamp, who chairs the engagement committee at Bike Colorado Springs.


The Corporate Challenge offers businesses the chance to prove their competitive edge, as well as their commitment to health and the environment. Companies are separated into “classes” based on the size of their workforce and given a score based on the rate of employee participation. An online leaderboard shows company stats.


After work, there are also a handful of bars and breweries offering deals to help you quench the thirst from a double-workout day. Just flash your helmet at one of the participating locations, no separate registration necessary. (Imbibe responsibly, and don’t forget you can get a DUI on a bike.)


“They have offered some deals for riders that are going back from work to stop by and enjoy a gorgeous afternoon on their patio, and to celebrate bikes both early in the morning and then also in the evening,” Beauchamp said. “People are driving along, it’s late in the afternoon, they see all these bicycles parked...and they’re like, ‘Hey, I should have done that. That looks like fun.’”


Bike to Work Day may affect the city’s Bicycle Friendly Community status from the League of American Bicyclists. Currently, Colorado Springs has earned the Silver designation, thanks in large part to its recently adopted Bicycle Master Plan — a vision for more bike lanes, bike sharing, trails and more. Events such as Bike to Work Day to encourage “a strong bike culture that welcomes and celebrates bicycling” could help boost the city nearer to a Gold or Platinum designation.


Register online as soon as possible to ensure there’s enough food and prizes to go around. If you’re not stopping for breakfast but still want to bike, consider registering anyway so the city has a headcount of the number of participants.


Beauchamp said the main objective of Bike to Work Day is to create cultural change.


“We’re not trying to force people out of their cars and say you always have to ride to work, but just know that it’s an option,” Beauchamp said. “It’s getting on board with the idea and then equipping them with success for the rest of the year.”


This event is sponsored by KOAA News 5 and the Colorado Springs Independent. Organizing sponsors are Bike Colorado Springs, the Council of Neighbors and Organizations, and Mountain Metro Transit.


Register for 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. breakfast at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/25th-annual-bike-to-work-day-registration-45135783343


Register for the Corporate Challenge by emailing COSChallenge18@gmail.com


Here’s a list of breakfast locations and offerings:


Angler’s Covey: 295 S 21st St.

• Breakfast: Muffins, yogurt, fruit, juice

• Extras: One free fly fishing class


Buffalo Lodge: 2 El Paso Blvd.

• Breakfast: Coffee, juice, fruit, muffins, waffles and toppings

• Extras: Free wooden token worth a $5 drink


Cafe Velo: Santa Fe Trail at North Gate Road

• Breakfast: Bagels, power food, water

• Extras: Mechanical support


Council of Neighbors and Organizations: Rock Island Trail at Academy Boulevard and Constitution Avenue

• Breakfast: Bagels and cream cheese, water

• Extras: Free individual CONO memberships ($25 value), stickers


Criterium: 6150 Corporate Dr.

• Breakfast: Burritos, juice


Downtown Businesses at Acacia Park: Nevada Avenue and Bijou Street

• Breakfast: Downtown businesses breakfast co-op

• Extras: Games, giveaways


El Paso County Public Health: Sinton Trail at El Paso City Citizens Service Center

• Breakfast: Burritos, fruit, coffee and water

• Extras: “Swag” and information related to cancer screenings and tobacco prevention


Good Neighbors Meeting House: 505 E. Columbia St.

• Breakfast: Coffee and goodies


Ivywild: 1604 S. Cascade Ave.

• Breakfast


Lincoln Center: 2727 N. Cascade Ave.

• Breakfast: Smoothies from Cafe Red Point


Mountain Metro Transit at Tap Traders: 3104 N. Nevada Ave., Unit 100

• Breakfast: Burritos

• Extras: Music, BOGO beer ticket for the ride home, T-shirt raffle


Organization of Westside Neighbors: Pedestrian Bridge over I-25, Monument Valley Pool

• Breakfast: Burritos

• Extras: Live music, stickers


Pedal Station/MER: 1026 S Tejon St.

• Breakfast


Pikes Peak Market: 315 E. Pikes Peak Ave.

• Breakfast


Popcycle Bridge: Pikes Peak Greenway Trail at Van Buren

• Breakfast: Pancakes, fruit, energy bars, drinks

• Extras: Mayor John Suthers serving breakfast, KOAA photo booth, giveaways


RideCo Bike Shop: 9625 Prominent Point

• Breakfast


SRAM: Pikes Peak Greenway Tail at Templeton Gap

• Breakfast: Coffee, water, lemonade, breakfast burritos

• Extras: Bike repair station, stickers, “swag”


Sustainacenter: 702 E Boulder St.

• Breakfast: Switchback Coffee Roasters/Willamette Market partner


UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central: 1400 E. Boulder St.

• Breakfast


University Village Colorado: 5246 North Nevada Ave.

• Breakfast


Urban Steam: 1025 S Sierra Madre St.

• Breakfast


YMCA- Briargate: 4025 Family Place

• Breakfast

• Extras: Basic bike repair and safety checks, music, giveaways


YMCA- Cottonwood: 3920 Dublin Blvd.

• Breakfast

• Extras: Basic bike repair and safety checks, music, giveaways


YMCA - East Side at Province Springs Senior Living: 2960 Tutt Blvd.

• Breakfast

• Extras: Basic bike repair and safety checks, music, giveaways


YMCA - Fountain at Welte Teen Center: 330 Lyckman Place

• Breakfast


YMCA- Prospect Lake Beach House: 619 Prospect Lake Dr.

• Breakfast

• Extras: Basic bike repair and safety checks, music, giveaways


YMCA- Southeast: 2190 Jet Wing Dr.

• Breakfast

• Extras: Basic bike repair and safety checks, music, giveaways


YMCA - Tri-Lakes: Santa Fe Trail at Baptist Road

• Breakfast



...and a list of “Bike Home from Work Stations”:


Atrevida Beer Company: 204 Mount View Lane

• 10 percent off if you ride


FH Beerworks: 521 S. Tejon St.

• $1 off


Fossil Craft Beer Company: 2845 Ore Mill Road

• $1 off your first beer


Goat Patch Brewing Company: 2727 N. Cascade Ave.

• $1 off pints


Gold Camp Brewing Company: 1007 S. Tejon St.

• Free half pint with purchase of a pint


Peaks N Pines Brewing Company: 4005 Tutt Blvd.

• $2 off a pint


Phantom Canyon Brewing Company: 2 East Pikes Peak Ave.

• Show the staff your bike helmet and receive a free pint


Piglatin Cocina: 2825 Dublin Blvd.

• $2 tacos and Tecates for bikers


Red Leg Brewing Company: 4630 Forge Road

• $1 off pints


Smiling Toad Brewery: 1757 S. 8th St.

• BOGO


Storybook Brewing: 3121 N. El Paso St.

• BOGO, first pint only


Trails End Taproom: 3103 W. Colorado Ave.

• 20 percent off beer wall


Whistle Pig Brewing Company: 1840 Dominion Way

• BOGO

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Transit Mix announces plan for mountain bike park in Colorado Springs in midst of controversial quarry fight

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 11:54 AM

Graphic renderings of the proposed mountain bike park were produced "at the direction of the City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department, which financed the renderings with funds Transit Mix donated to the City for the purpose." - FLOWRIDE CONCEPTS
  • Flowride Concepts
  • Graphic renderings of the proposed mountain bike park were produced "at the direction of the City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department, which financed the renderings with funds Transit Mix donated to the City for the purpose."
In the midst of a controversial fight over a proposed new quarry, Transit Mix has announced plans to make an older quarry off West Woodmen Road (that would close if the new one is approved) a world-class mountain biking park. The Springs currently lacks such an amenity, and this would be the largest such park in the state.

Transit Mix, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Continental Materials, has long been trying to establish a quarry on a portion of the 1,200-acre historic Hitch Rack Ranch, just outside Colorado Springs to the south on Highway 115. The beautiful property is known to be home to a great variety of wildlife, and is surrounded by a scattering of homes.

Not surprisingly, the idea of a quarry in the area has been met with resistance. Many homeowners certainly don't want it (and many say they did not suspect they'd end up next to a quarry when they built their homes). Some environmental groups oppose it. And, perhaps most damagingly, the powerful El Pomar Foundation, which owns land in the area, vocally opposes the proposal.

FLOWRIDE CONCEPTS
  • Flowride Concepts
In a unusual move, the state Mined Land Reclamation Board initially denied a permit for the quarry, in spite of staff recommendations to approve it. Transit Mix is shooting for approval a second time. The proposal will be considered by MLRB on April 25 and 26. If approved, the proposal would next go to the El Paso County Commissioners, which would consider a special use permit.

In the meantime, Transit Mix has been wooing leaders and citizens in Colorado Springs to latch onto the idea of a new quarry. Many City Councilors and state legislators have come out in support of Transit Mix's offer to close and move two batch plants (on Costilla Street and North Nevada Avenue) and accelerate the closure of two existing quarries (Black Canyon near Manitou Springs and Pikeview in northwest Colorado Springs) if granted a permit to open a quarry at Hitch Rack Ranch. (Opponents have claimed that Black Canyon and Pike View have been closed for some time and that they are marked as "open" only to avoid required restoration. Although Daniel Cole, speaking on behalf of Transit Mix, says Pikeview produced 300,000 tons of limestone in 2017.)
FLOWRIDE CONCEPTS
  • Flowride Concepts
Now, Transit Mix has announced yet another goodie: A mountain bike park that would be the largest in the state on the Pikeview quarry site — again, only if Hitch Rack is approved. The city's parks system would be given control of the property and would be responsible for building the park.

A Transit Mix release notes:

A mountain bike park in Colorado Springs has been a community vision for a number of years. In 2013, the Colorado Springs Parks Department led an extensive community planning process to update the Parks System Master Plan. The approved 2014 Parks System Master Plan recommends broadening recreational opportunities within Colorado Springs, to include a destination mountain bike park. The master plan, viewable here, mentions the need for a bike park on pages 136 and 141.

When Transit Mix informed the City of Colorado Springs of the potential accelerated closure of Pikeview, the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department shared its vision for a community mountain bike park on the property.

Subsequently, Transit Mix, the Colorado Springs Parks Department and area cycling advocates and organizations engaged in a series of conversations about what the Pikeview Mountain Bike Park should look like. The ideas generated from these conversations shaped the concept plan released today.
Transit Mix notes that the plan has the support of local cycling advocate groups including USA Cycling. The Indy has also spoken to Cory Sutela of Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates, who expressed great excitement for the plan.
FLOWRIDE CONCEPTS
  • Flowride Concepts
Transit Mix details the plan:

The concept plan for a mountain bike park at Pikeview envisions an extensive variety of trails, loops and features that cater to all types and styles of riders. Projected amenities include mountain, downhill and slopestyle tracks, a BMX and pump track, a youth learning area, flow trails, a cyclocross course and a bike polo field. The plan allows for trail networks that could be utilized for organized races and events. It also provides space for facilities and amenities that are compatible with the bike park, including family picnic areas, a playground and a large dog park.

Pikeview offers several unique characteristics conducive to a bike park. The size of the parcel, approximately 150 acres, would provide significant space to create a variety of trail types, features and experiences. Other bike parks along the Front Range are much smaller in size, ranging from a few acres to 40 acres. The nearly 900 feet of vertical change in elevation at Pikeview would allow for longer, steeper and more challenging trails. Local rocks from the site could be used to create sustainable technical features in the trail as well. Transit Mix’s existing maintenance shop could serve as a small events center, offering rental space for parties, bike clinics, races, bike service and rentals and a small coffee shop or concessionaire.

Furthermore, Pikeview’s location adjacent to the Pike National Forest provides for possible trail connections to the national forest and an existing trail network atop Rampart Range. The views from the property are uninterrupted and expansive, further enhancing the users’ experience of the property. There are also opportunities for regional trail connectivity with the existing Foothills Trail, a tier II urban trail at the entrance to Pikeview.
John Hazlehurst contributed to this report. This post has been updated.
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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

USOC CEO resigns; Suthers extols his leadership

Posted By on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 4:12 PM

screen_shot_2018-02-28_at_3.49.55_pm.png
As news broke of the resignation of U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers called him "a principled and ethical leader."

Blackmun had come under fire in recent weeks for his apparent reluctance to, as the Washington Post reported, "intervene in a series of sex abuse scandals, most recently the Larry Nassar case that has engulfed USA Gymnastics and prompted three Congressional inquiries."
Mayor Suthers: Sorry to see Blackmun resign. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Mayor Suthers: Sorry to see Blackmun resign.

The news comes in the wake of calls by two senators for Blackmun to resign over the Nassar case, the Post reported, but USOC board chair Larry Probst said his departure stems from health concerns. Blackmun, 60, recently had surgery for prostate cancer and needs additional treatment, Probst told the Post.

The USOC is based in Colorado Springs, which adopted the moniker "Olympic City U.S.A." In an interview on KRCC on Feb. 28, Suthers called the brand unique and among the most valuable in the world.

The sports agency has headquartered in Colorado Springs since it moved here from New York City in 1978. In 2009, the city spent roughly $50 million to revamp a downtown building into a new headquarters for the USOC and upgrade the Olympic Training Center. Following the controversial deal, the developer was indicted on fraud charges at least partially linked to the deal, and ill will grew between citizens and City Council over what some called an unnecessary give-away.

But Suthers believes the label Olympic City is a sturdy one and gives the city an incomparable distinction.

In a statement issued on Feb. 28 shortly after news broke of Blackmun's resignation, Suthers said:
Scott Blackmun has done an outstanding job as the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee and I am sad to learn of his resignation. I have found Scott to be a principled and ethical leader of the USOC and it has been a pleasure to work with him. The relationship between the City of Colorado Springs and the USOC has never been better and much of the credit for that belongs to Scott.

My staff and I wish Scott the very best as he deals with his health issue and we are genuinely grateful for all he has done for the Olympic movement and for Olympic City USA.
The USOC made Blackmun the secondary topic in a lengthy news release about reforms and initiatives aimed at protecting athletes from abuse. Allegations of various types of ill treatment have hit not only gymnastics but also swimming, taekwondo, speedskating and judo.

The USOC's release:
Today, the United States Olympic Committee announced additional reforms and new initiatives designed to protect athletes from abuse and respond quickly and effectively when issues surface. The USOC also announced that CEO Scott Blackmun is resigning due to ongoing health issues resulting from prostate cancer. Susanne Lyons, a current board member, will serve as acting CEO, overseeing the USOC’s day-to-day operations while the search for a permanent successor is underway.

“Given Scott’s current health situation, we have mutually agreed it is in the best interest of both Scott and the USOC that we identify new leadership so that we can immediately address the urgent initiatives ahead of us,” said USOC Chairman Larry Probst. “The USOC is at a critical point in its history. The important work that Scott started needs to continue and will require especially vigorous attention in light of Larry Nassar’s decades-long abuse of athletes affiliated with USA Gymnastics. We will be working with key stakeholders to help identify a permanent successor to Scott. In the meantime, I am confident that Susanne is the right person to help us navigate this critical transition period.”

Blackmun has served as CEO of the USOC since 2010. He was the driving force behind many of the improvements the USOC has made to help protect athletes – notably the establishment of the U.S. Center for SafeSport and the development of the SafeSport initiative. Blackmun also led the effort to bring the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games back to the United States, ensured record financial support for Team USA athletes, renegotiated the USOC’s revenue sharing agreement with the International Olympic Committee, and substantially enhanced the USOC’s presence and influence in the global Olympic Movement.

“Serving the USOC and its many stakeholders and working with our board, our professional staff and many others who support the Olympic and Paralympic movements has not only been immensely rewarding, it has been an honor and the highlight of my professional life,” said Blackmun. “I am proud of what we have achieved as a team and am confident that Susanne will help the USOC continue to embody the Olympic spirit and champion Team USA athletes during this transition.”

In January, Lyons was selected as chair of the USOC board’s working group addressing issues the Nassar case has brought to light. Since then, she has been leading the USOC’s efforts to ensure a process that is independent, transparent, sensitive and accessible. Lyons has been serving as an independent director to the USOC board of directors since December 2010. She has extensive global and Olympic experience, including 40 years of expertise in general management, marketing, sponsorship, business strategy and revenue generation. Lyons served as the executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Visa USA – a member of the IOC’s The Olympic Partner Program – from 2004-07. Prior to this, Lyons held leadership roles for Charles Schwab & Co. and Fidelity Investments.

“While we are eager to review the findings of the independent investigation, the USOC is taking important actions now based on what we already know,” said Lyons. “We are evaluating the USOC’s role and oversight of all the National Governing Bodies, considering potential changes to the Olympic structure and aggressively exploring new ways to enhance athlete safety and help prevent and respond to abuse.”

The reforms and new actions the USOC is announcing today include:

Providing new funding and resources for support and counseling for gymnasts impacted by Nassar’s crimes and launching a new resource for athletes from other Olympic and Paralympic sports recovering from similar abuse.

Forming an advisory group to bring together survivors, advocates, child psychologists and other medical professionals to guide the USOC on stronger safeguards against abuse throughout the Olympic community, and effective support for victims. This may lead to additional changes to the USOC policies and methods for addressing cultural issues and conflicts of interest that may exist in sports, hampering prevention of abuse.

Launching a review of the USOC and NGB governance structure as defined by the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act, including seeking input from safe sport advocacy groups, the NGB Council, the Athletes’ Advisory Council, current athletes and policymakers to consider clarifications and changes to this structure. As the leader of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community, the USOC must ensure that its governance structure unequivocally provides the ability to oversee and act when necessary to protect athletes.

Revisiting USOC SafeSport procedures to determine what measures are necessary to ensure allegations of abuse are reported to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, in addition to law enforcement, and that necessary follow-ups occur. This also would enable NGBs and the USOC to be more aware of problems as they arise, spot trends, and know where more oversight and engagement are necessary.

Effectively doubling USOC’s funding of the Center for SafeSport to enable it to hire more investigators and staff, improve the speedy resolution of cases, enhance ongoing communication for victims and their families, provide age-appropriate training on recognizing and helping to prevent abuse, and offer better and more accessible resources online.

Ensuring that athletes have a stronger voice within the USOC. In addition to the AAC already in place, the USOC will seek input on its decision making from currently competing athletes and athletes who have competed in the past.

Working with USAG to address its governance issues, implement a culture change, and act on the results of the independent investigation once it is complete.

“The goal of our organization is to protect and support each and every athlete,” said Whitney Ping, an athlete representative on the USOC board. “We are absolutely committed to our ongoing and increased efforts to ensure current and future athletes can train and perform in an environment where they feel safe and supported. As the independent investigation continues, we will continue to look for ways to strengthen them even further.”

A factsheet about these initiatives can be found at TeamUSA.org.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Switchbacks FC up for USL goal of the year

Posted By on Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 11:07 AM

COURTESY SWITCHBACKS FC
  • Courtesy Switchbacks FC
We recently noted how the Switchbacks FC gained a TV deal with Fox 21 for its 2018 home soccer matches.

Now, the club's made it to the final round of voting for the USL's goal of the year.

You can view the goal below and vote for player Masta Kacher at the above link.

Voting ends tomorrow at 8 a.m. mountain time, and as of this posting Kacher leads the contest with 62 percent of the vote.




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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Switchbacks FC gain TV deal with Fox 21 for 2018 home soccer matches

Posted By on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 8:30 AM

COURTESY SWITCHBACKS FC
  • Courtesy Switchbacks FC
Earlier this morning, on Nov. 21, Colorado Springs’ soccer team, the Switchbacks FC, announced a new partnership with FOX 21’s SOCO CW to broadcast all 17 home games for the 2018 season. Those are played Saturday nights, April through October, at Weidner Field (6303 Barnes Road), typically around 6 p.m.

“It means a lot for us and the community,” says James Ragain, executive vice president of Switchbacks FC. “It brings a little more legitimacy of the type of professional athletes we’re bringing... and it exposes us to a bigger network so that people really understand who we are and what we’re about, and the kind of entertainment we bring.”

The 2018 season will be the Switchbacks’ fourth as an organization, all as a member of the nationwide United Soccer League, which hosted 30 teams in 2017. That’s up from only 12 teams in 2012 — a testament to the sport’s growth in popularity, despite recent upset over the U.S. national men’s team’s failure to qualify for the next World Cup. (Side note: the U.S. national women’s team stands as the most awarded in international play, holding three Women’s World Cup wins and four Olympic golds.)
COURTESY SWITCHBACKS FC
  • Courtesy Switchbacks FC
Ragain cites average attendance of 3,500 fans this past season, admiring clubs like FC Cincinnati, who broke USL attendance records with upwards of 24,000 fans at their matches. (Weidner Field’s current capacity is only 5,000.) The Switchbacks finished in 9th place in 2017, down from 3rd and 4th places in their first two years. Though not terrible to hit the top third, Ragain, hopeful for the season ahead, says make no mistake, “we’re here to win.”

Here's the full press release:
The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC officially announced today that the local Fox 21 CW affiliate will broadcast all 17 of the Switchbacks USL home games.

The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC will be entering their fourth season playing in the United Soccer League, the largest second division soccer league in the world. To better serve its fans, the Switchbacks have partnered with FOX21 and SOCO CW to give local fans a unique viewing experience of their home matches. The Switchbacks are excited about the partnership with FOX21 and SOCO CW as they hope the partnership will also help them reach an unprecedented number of fans throughout southern Colorado.

The Colorado Springs Switchbacks Football Club began playing in the USL during the 2015 season after officially announcing the franchise on December 5th, 2013. The Switchbacks led a successful 2015 campaign, finishing 3rd in the Western Conference and reaching the Western Conference semi-finals. The Switchbacks followed up their inaugural campaign with a consecutive top-three finish and reaching the playoffs in the 2016 season. The club set numerous attendance records during the 2017 season, playing at newly-named Weidner Field. The Switchbacks will continue to compete in the Western Conference alongside 33 other teams including expansion franchises, Fresno, Las Vegas, Nashville, and Atlanta. Austin, Birmingham, and Memphis are all set to join the league in 2019.

FOX21 News has provided news and weather information for southern Colorado since 2001. Broadcasting over an antenna located atop Cheyenne Mountain, FOX21 reaches Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and southern Colorado on over-the air channel 21, Comcast channel 3, DirecTV channel 21, and Dish Network channel 21. FOX21 produces nearly 38 hours of local newscasts every week, in addition to showing FOX network entertainment and sports programming. The station shares a studio in southeastern Colorado Springs with sister station SOCO CW. In 2013, the FOX21 News team won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for Continuing Coverage for its coverage of the Waldo Canyon Fire.

The Switchbacks will kick their 2018 USL campaign the weekend of March 16. Season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.
COURTESY SWITCHBACKS FC
  • Courtesy Switchbacks FC

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