2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Board that oversees City for Champions promises open meetings, open books

Published: May 15, 2014, 4:05 pm, by Monica Mendoza

When the governing board that oversees the City for Champions projects meets, it will be in open and all of its records will be subject to the Colorado Open Records Act.

The details of the Regional Tourism Act Board, headed by Mayor Steve Bach, Colorado Springs City Council president Keith King and El Paso County Commission chairman Dennis Hisey, are spelled out in a draft of “Rules of Procedure for the Colorado Springs Regional Tourism Act Advisory Board.”

The draft likely will not be finalized until the board’s next meeting, which has not yet been scheduled, a city spokeswoman said.

The RTA board will advise the city on matters related to compliance with the state on deadlines and requirements for the four City for Champions projects – a downtown sports and events center, a UCCS sports medicine facility, an Air Force Academy visitors center and an Olympic museum. The board will advise the Urban Renewal Authority, which will act as the financing entity, on the allocation of all funds.

About a year ago, planning for the City for Champions began with a small circle of influential civic, academic and business leaders including Bill Hybl, El Pomar Foundation chairman and CEO; Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, former U.S. Air Force Academy superintendent; Pam Shockley-Zalabak, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs chancellor; Dick Celeste, former Colorado College president; and Steve Bartolin, The Broadmoor president and CEO.

The group maintains that the four tourism venues would pump millions into the local economy and make Colorado Springs a real tourist destination. State law says the projects must be of “extraordinary and unique nature and contribute significantly to economic development and tourism.”

In December, the Colorado Economic Development Commission awarded the city an estimated $120.5 million over the next 30 years to help finance City for Champions. To get the state tax increment financing – a percentage of the net new sales tax generated in a specified zone over the next 30 years – the city must break ground on four projects within five years and complete them within 10 years

Mayor Steve Bach recently announced the members of the RTA board. The project partners are Dick Celeste, representing the U.S. Olympic museum project; Pam Shockley-Zalabak, representing the UCCS sports medicine facility; Col. Evan Miller, representing the Air Force Academy visitors center; and Rich Bender, representing the downtown sports and events center.

Community members are: Doug Price, president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau; Doug Quimby, attorney and developer; Kyle Hybl, El Pomar attorney; Susan Edmonson, CEO of Downtown Partnership; Becky Medved, community citizen; Julian Flores, entrepreneur; Phil Lane, community citizen; Marvin Strait, CPA; Lynne Telford, community leader.