COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The 90-year-old City Auditorium in Colorado Springs could be headed for private management if city officials find a willing partner.
Ten firms have expressed interest in managing the facility since the city began accepting bids a week ago. Among them is World Arena, who manages the arena building on the city's south side and began operating the Pikes Peak Center for El Paso County in 2004.
The city wants a manager who will continue to make the auditorium available to a wide range of people and events, but also pay for needed renovations to heating, air conditioning, seating and windows.
Privatization of city services and facilities is something Mayor Steve Bach said he would consider when he was elected.
Kim King of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services said the auditorium's annual maintenance budget is no more than $200,000, and the city can't afford capital improvements there.
"We do stay busy," said King. "We think we could be busier yet, if we have someone come in that's truly marketing the facility more than we can do right now."
Deedle Murray of the Pikes Peak Derby Dames, a local roller derby team, said the team practices at the auditorium several times a week and holds monthly bouts there. She's hopeful that a new manager won't restrict access for the team.
"We also practice at Skate City, so that's a possibility to increase practices there, if necessary," said Murray. "Some other locations aren't definite or set in stone. (The current access) is ideal. We love the location. We love the vibe from it. But obviously, there's no guarantee."
The city will accept bids through Oct. 26.
El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark said private management of the Pikes Peak Center by World Arena has gone smoothly, with the arena making needed capital improvements while the county retains general maintenance responsibilities.
"However, I have heard a concern that (Pikes Peak Center) is not the same facility it once was," said Clark. "That it's now more of an events center and less of an open public auditorium. It's important to give the public an inexpensive place to use."