The city of Colorado Springs has applied for $82 million in sales-tax incentives from the Colorado Regional Tourism Act to build nearly $220 million in projects that would boost the area’s visitor profile.
Dubbed “City for Champions,” the plan calls for a new U.S. Olympic museum, for $59 million; a downtown minor-league baseball stadium and event center, for $60 million; a sports-medicine and performance center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, for $27 million; and a new visitors center at the Air Force Academy, north of the city, for $20 million.
The Regional Tourism Act allows local governments to apply for funding to build projects that will attract out-of-state visitors. The city estimates the four new facilities will increase local sales-tax revenues by $312 million over the next 30 years and create 750 permanent jobs. Early estimates predict 1.2 million visits a year, according to the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.
State funding would cover about a third of the costs, with the other two-thirds picked up by private and public sources, says Joe Raso, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, one of the groups supporting the development.
“We want to add to what will be nice, linear progression of visitor attractions, stretching along the Front Range from the Denver airport down here and farther south,” Raso says.