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City for Champions gets another green light

By Rana Novini, Anchor/Reporter, r.novini@krdo.com
Published On: Jan 16 2014 07:21:11 PM CST

At Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach's request, the El Paso County Board of Commissioners approved another $37,500 for the City for Champions project.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

At Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach's request, the El Paso County Board of Commissioners approved another $37,500 for the City for Champions project.  

The money will come from the county's Economic Development Fund made of private dollars -- not taxpayer money.  The Board of Commissioners ok'd a payment of the same amount a few months ago.

City for Champions project includes construction of a US Olympic museum and a sports and events center in downtown Colorado Springs, a sports medicine and performance center at UCCS and an updated US Air Force Academy Visitor's Center.  It's estimated to cost around $250 million.

In December, the Colorado Economic Development Commission gave the project the green light when it approved $120.5 million in state incentives over the next 30 years.

The Board of Commissioners' decision Thursday was split 3-2 with Commissioners Peggy Littleton and Darryl Glenn voting against the additional funding.

Before voting, commissioners heard from dozens of citizens -- business owners, stakeholders, and concerned residents -- both for and against the county's additional support and funding.

One woman said the project made her want to stay in Colorado Springs and raise her children here.

Another argued that the city should focus on better utilizing the World Arena and Sky Sox stadium.

Dick Celeste, former president of Colorado College and former governor of Ohio, spoke before the commissioners urging them to approve the funding.  Celeste is heading the research behind the Olympic museum effort.

"The only way you grow is to build on an existing strength," Celeste said.  Celeste argued that the U.S. Olympic Committee may not always be rooted in Colorado Springs.  Creating a museum here would help people associate the Olympic games with Colorado Springs, he said.

"The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum brings 460,000 visitors to Cleveland, Ohio every year," he said.  "Two-thirds of them are from out of state."

According to the City for Champions website, the project is projected to bring in more than one million new visitors every year and create more than a thousand new jobs.

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