Congratulations to Mayor John Suthers and the Colorado Springs City Council. They persistently pursued and planned developments that will transform downtown Colorado Springs into a destination hub for the 21st century.

Six years after city leaders proposed a downtown stadium as one of several City for Champions projects, the council gave final approval for the project Tuesday. The stadium, which will facilitate up to 15,000 people for concerts and other entertainment events, will anchor commercial and residential development in the southwest corner of downtown.

A Dec. 7 groundbreaking will launch a construction project city officials hope will conclude in time for a grand opening in March 2021.

The stadium is one of four projects the Colorado Economic Development Commission approved in 2013 for tax-increment financing, in the interest of enhancing Colorado tourism. State tax rebates will fund up to $120 million of costs associated with building City for Champions assets.

Other projects include a new visitor’s center for the Air Force Academy; a sports medicine center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs; and the country’s premier Olympics museum in the center of the city that hosts the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Training Center and dozens of Olympic governing boards.

State tax subsidies are only part of the picture. In the case of the stadium, the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority will borrow $13 million by selling bonds. The city will use the state economic development funds to repay the bonds.

Private investment, committed by Weidner Apartment Homes and the Colorado Springs Switchbacks soccer team, will fund the remainder of the $35 million investment.

To finish out the sports and event center aspect of City for Champions, an indoor hockey arena and events center is planned for the campus of Colorado College just north of downtown.

People around the globe are attracted to Colorado Springs. Unceasing economic and population growth pushed the Springs to the top position on a list of the country’s most competitive housing markets, released last week.

People will continue investing in Colorado Springs because the city, state and private sector believe in the future of this community and have invested substantially to prove it.

Downtown Colorado Springs, at the base of America’s most famous and beloved mountain, should be a major center of entertainment, athletics and culture. With the new downtown U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum well underway — and the addition of sporting venues, new businesses and housing — downtown Colorado Springs can be the first place people want to visit when they come to Colorado.

It can be the first place locals think of when seeking entertainment and dining. It can be home for singles, couples and families who want to live in the heart of a city and walk to restaurants, museums, shops and games.

Congratulations, Colorado Springs. The future keeps getting brighter in this Olympic City built by champions.

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