2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Proposed CFC event center is not a convention center, city attorney says

Published: February 24, 2014, 6:57 pm, by Monica Mendoza

The proposed City for Champions downtown events center is not a convention center, the city’s interim city attorney Wynetta Massey says.

City Council wanted to know, and here’s why: If the proposed 10,000 seat downtown events center had met the legal definition of a convention center, then Colorado Springs residents would have had to vote on it, per city law.

“The proposed (Colorado Sports and Event Center) is not a convention or conference center,” Massey wrote in her Feb. 14 memo to City Council. “Rather, it is a multi-use athletic facility that is primarily designed to host various outdoor, and some indoor athletic competitions, such as Olympic qualifying events, amateur athletic tournaments and possibly professional sports in a stadium-like facility with a spectator seating capacity of approximately 10,000.”

In 2005, Colorado Springs voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure restricting the city’s ability to pay for and build a convention center. Voters added the convention center issue to the city’s charter. It says: “Colorado Springs shall be prohibited from planning, building, funding or financing a convention center with or without a hotel or another ancillary structure, unless a majority of voters gives prior approval to complete the project at a regular or special municipal election.”

Massey wrote in her memo that a convention center’s main purpose is to host trade shows, public shows, conventions and other large functions and combine exhibition space with a substantial number of smaller meeting and event spaces.

Meanwhile, the City for Champions event center is “designed with maximum facility flexibility to accommodate a variety of programming needs for 200 to 250 events each year including concerts, traveling sports tournaments, holiday events, fairs and car shows,” according to the application the city filed with the state.

The City Council will discuss this memo and other legal definitions regarding City for Champions at its work session at 1 p.m. Monday in City Hall.