Governor scolds Colorado Springs for being too old

POSTED: 11:12 PM MST Jan 11, 2013 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Gov. John Hickenlooper is trying to help change Colorado Springs with some old-fashioned tough love. He called the state's second largest city too old.

"These new economies are based on young people," said Hickenlooper.

The governor believes there's a direct correlation between changes like adding hiking trails and bike paths, and attracting businesses and young professionals. Urban renewal enthusiasts agree.

"It's a great place to hike, bike and ride so if you can do that you can come here," said Ken Brickman, who developed the Center for Sustainable Options.

Brickman is also encouraged by the "downtown renaissance." He sees great improvement over the last few years by mixing businesses residential space but the vision is not complete.

"We don't have an identity," said Brickman. "We're struggling for that identity. The downtown renaissance will create that identity."

Brickman said infrastructure and transportation changes will help make Colorado Springs a great place to live for tens of thousands of people expected to join the city by 2030.

The governor said it is troubling that the unemployment rate in Colorado Springs is stuck at 9 percent even though the state's jobless rate has gone down. He said it could be tied to the the median age of Colorado Springs (34.9 according to the 2010 census) and not making the city attractive enough to young professionals.