Convention Center a Possibility

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The Colorado Springs City Council supports the idea of adding a convention center to the downtown area.

The plan they like would have a center in place about four years from now. They think it will bring in more visitors and more than a thousand jobs to Colorado Springs. The price tag on the project is $168 million.

The Council agreed Monday that they like the concept of bringing a convention center to the city. It's an idea that has been visited before, but always met with little public approval. Those who support the project hope this time will be different.

When it comes to the concept of building a convention center in Colorado Springs, city leaders say they're on board. “It's a very innovative approach I think the city needs to go forward with,” said Council member Jerry Heimlicher. The development plan would turn the lot south of Colorado Avenue into a $168 million building with a 400 room hotel on the side. “This is a chance to market our city and move it forward,” says Heimlicher.

The convention center would also be a new home for the U.S. Olympic Comittee and an Olympic Hall of Fame. Darryl Seibel, a USOC spokesperson, says, “Were this concept to come to fruition and the USOC to be a part of it, certainly it would cement our presence in this community well into the future.”

But the question remains, how will the city help pay nearly $4 million a year for the project? One idea suggests spending less in vendors fees and putting that savings toward the project. That option prevents having to raise taxes, but asks for approval from the business sector. “We certainly believe if the vendors fees were directed to a project of this magnitude, the long term benefit to the community and people who are enjoying a vendors fee right now would be multiplied greatly,” says Will Temby of the Chamber of Commerce.

Planners were hoping to come back in two weeks with updated information about a financing plan for City Council. However, the Mayor asked for more time in order to do a thorough study. Therefore, they will bring their results to an informal meeting next month.