Work may or may not begin next year on an estimated more than $50 million sports and events center in downtown Colorado Springs.
The center was initially proposed in 2013 as part of a package of four facility projects designed to attract visitors to Colorado’s second largest city. That package was officially called the City of Champions project.
In late 2013, the Colorado Economic Development Commission approved an award of $120.5 million in sales tax rebates to help build the four projects, which included a U.S. Olympic Museum; a visitors center at the nearby Air Force Academy; and a combined performance and sports medicine center on the city’s University of Colorado campus.
While planning and/or actual construction on the other three projects is underway, the sports and events facility is still in the talking stage.
Because the Economic Development Commission stipulated that actual work on the City of Champions’ facilities had to be underway no later than December of 2018, city officials are now worried that the $27 million in sales taxes allotted for the sports and events center is at risk of being forfeited.
Making the project even more challenging, a consultant earlier this year said the facility would need another $28 million in order to become reality, funding which has yet to be identified.
A city analysis done in 2013 said that if built, the sports and events center could host a variety of sporting events, attracting visitors from around the world, and bring in at least $1.8 million in revenue annually.
But Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers has openly questioned committing public funds to the project. He did earlier this year remark, however, that if someone walked into his office promising the additional $28 million needed for center, “We’d be back on track.”
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