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Citizens express budget concerns for City for Champions proposal

Citizens express budget concerns for City for Champions proposal

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - As the City for Champions project moves forward in Colorado Springs, some residents worry the proposal is impractical.

City leaders, including Mayor Steve Bach, City Council President Keith King and representatives from each of the four City for Champions project hosted an informational meeting Tuesday evening.  They presented the project's financial plans to a packed conference room at the Regional Development Center then opened the forum to questions from citizens.

The proposal costs about a quarter of a billion dollars and includes a downtown sports and events center, a downtown Olympic museum, a sports medicine and performance center at UCCS and a renovated Air Force Academy Visitor's Center.  Officials clarified that the projects are "severable" meaning, potentially, some projects can be built without the others. The project is receiving more than $120 million in state incentives.

Some citizens voiced concerns that money will come out of the taxpayer's wallet.  William Murray stood in the meeting, holding signs that said "true", "false" and "half true."  

"A half truth is something you can't verify," Murray told KRDO NewsChannel 13.  "We've got a bunch of half truths because they're hiding the information under a cloak of confidentiality."

Bach insisted that he does not support a tax hike to fund the City for Champions project.  He said if it comes down to that, he will ask citizens to vote on it.

Others expressed cautious optimism at the proposal.  Joe Loidolt told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that the questions raised were valid, but he applauded city leaders for welcoming the questions.

"I think it's exciting," Loidolt said.  "It's something new for the city and anything we can do to get more people come to visit our town is a good, positive thing."

The next informational meeting will be held March 18.

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