City’s final blueprint on homelessness in Colorado Springs focuses on families, outreach

A greater attention to the plight of homeless families, more police patrols and a revamped approach to street outreach are among Colorado Springs officials’ recently finalized plans for addressing homelessness in the coming year.

The 2019 Colorado Springs Homelessness Initiative takes aim at several facets of homelessness in a city that has seen the number of people sleeping outside, in shelters or in their vehicles grow for years, while options for affordable housing dwindle.

The blueprint emerged from months of deliberations and town halls that drew hundreds of people to meetings across the city.

homeless countIt hews largely to a draft issued in October, and its targeted completion date is the same: Dec. 31. However, it includes a few new additions, such as a bid to help families, greater enforcement of camping bans and a different approach to outreach.

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Colorado Springs and Fort Collins leaders nationally for job growth last year

Two Colorado metros ranked among the Top 10 nationally for job growth last year. And sorry Denver, Boulder and Greeley, you didn’t qualify.

Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Selena Paulsen enjoys lunch with her two children Jackson, 3, and Sierra, 7, right, and their dog Thor in Fort Collins on July 17, 2016.

Colorado Springs had a 5.5-percent gain in nonfarm jobs between December 2017 and December 2018, which ranked fourth out of 388 metros, according to a survey from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Not far behind was Fort Collins, in the ninth spot, with a growth rate of 4.4 percent. Fort Collins last month made a repeat showing at the top of a list of the nation’s most dynamic economies.

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Why Colorado Springs is the Next High-Growth Colorado City

Colorado benefits from being one of the handful of states in the country where people will move to without a plan, ranking second overall in state growth. Colorado has sold lifestyle, buzz and innovation better than almost any other state– Denver and Boulder have grown so much recently that they’ve gone from affordable to ranking in the top ten of least affordable cities.

Now Denver is expanding further and further south, to the point where the last suburb of Denver, Castle Rock, is on the doorstep of Colorado Springs. And Colorado Springs, less than an hour from downtown Denver and with the greenway appeal of Boulder, is poised to be the Colorado growth city of the next decade.

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Pikes Peak Cog Railway orders engines, cars, rail for $100 million rebuilding project

The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway has ordered three new engines, nine passenger cars and cog-rail and snow removal systems from a Switzerland-based manufacturer as part of the $100 million rebuild of the railway.

Stadler Bussnang AG announced in January that it had received the order for the rack-and-pinion diesel locomotives, the rail cars that will be configured to carry 240-260 passengers, cog-rail and snow removal systems. Stadler spokeswoman Charlotte Thalhammer said the components would be manufactured at the company’s plants in Switzerland, but a delivery schedule had not been set yet because the specifics of the order were still being worked out.

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Colorado Springs City Council approves ordinance to place high-dollar settlements in public spotlight

Lawmakers and open-government advocates are commending the Colorado Springs City Council for passing laws to bring high-dollar lawsuit settlements out of closed-door meetings and into the public spotlight.

The council unanimously approved three ordinances on the topic Tuesday, but city attorneys said they have been following the practices outlined in them since August.

The laws come after The Gazette reported that the council in closed-door meetings had paid about $5.4 million in lawsuit settlements — for cases including claims of racial and gender discrimination — since 2013.

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Mayor John Suthers Announces Bid for Re-Election as Mayor of Colorado Springs

On the same stage as he did four years ago, Mayor John Suthers formally announced his campaign to run for re-election as Mayor of Colorado Springs. A crowd of approximately 200 people gathered for the event at Ivywild School.

In his speech, Suthers described the progress Colorado Springs has made in the past four years and outlined his plans for a next term. The city’s municipal election is April 2.

Suthers highlighted successes, such as infrastructure improvements and job creation, but acknowledged that there remains much work left to be done in the next several years.

“We need to complete the City for Champions projects that are underway, including a downtown stadium and arena, as well as tourist attractions like a new Pikes Peak Summit House and Cog Railway,” Suthers said.

During his term as Mayor, Colorado Springs has seen over 700 miles of major arterials improved and the creation of an aggressive stormwater program. In addition to city improvements, the job market has added over 28,000 new jobs in the region. The median wage is now over $80,000, almost 25% higher than when Suthers took office in 2015.

Former City Council President Merv Bennett, President and Co-Owner of Garden of the Gods Club and Resort, Brenda Smith and Founder and CEO of Altia, Mike Juran, spoke before Suthers and announced their support for his re-election.

Mike Juran stated, “John Suthers’ election as mayor was a turning point for Colorado Springs. The positive change he brought about caused our company to stop considering other locations for our headquarters and to strengthen our commitment to Colorado Springs.

In 2015, Suthers ran on a platform describing three major challenges the city faced: creating a collaborative political environment, investment in public infrastructure, and promoting job creation. Though much progress has been seen in these areas, infrastructure and job creation will remain top priorities.

The Mayor took time to address other improvements to citizen’s lives, such as the transformation of the airport, increasing police officers and firefighters, and progress in addressing the issues of affordable housing and homelessness.

At the end of his speech, Mayor Suthers referenced Colorado Springs’ humble beginnings as a colony founded by General Palmer and praised the years of hard work put into the city by community and government leaders alike.

“It’s a real tribute to our predecessors that even after 147 years and a population of ½ million people, Colorado Springs is the most desirable city in America to live. Our job is to ensure it remains so far into the future,” Suthers said.

The deadline to turn in nominating petitions with at least 100 signatures from registered voters is January 22.


The Colorado Sun: Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, one of the state’s top Republicans, on what’s ahead for the GOP, or his city and his future

John Suthers is ruling out a future bid for Colorado governor and he won’t say how close to becoming a part of the Trump administration he came. But he will say that he thinks Colorado Springs is on solid ground — and that he’s glad to be its mayor.

When John Suthers termed out of statewide office in 2015, after the longest run as Colorado attorney general in state history, the powerful Republican did not slide into retirement.

Within six months, he was elected mayor of the second-largest city in the state and quietly began working to jumpstart Colorado Springs’ listless recovery from the Great Recession.

Now, after the sweeping losses for his party in the November elections, Suthers finds himself with an outsized voice in the Colorado GOP and sees a need for change — a change in GOP candidates with messages to match the shifting demographics of the state.

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The Colorado Sun: Restaurants, job training and low(er) home prices: A dive into why Colorado Springs’ economy is booming

The city leads the state for employment growth in 2018 and 2019, thanks to diversity in business, age, health care, cybersecurity.

About five years ago, the CEO of automotive tech firm Altia considered moving the company’s headquarters out of Colorado Springs, where he co-founded the company in 1991.

Engineering talent — more plentiful in places such as Silicon Valley and, increasingly, Denver — was hard to find in Colorado Springs, recalled CEO Mike Juran, a former software developer at Hewlett-Packard.

Then something changed.

A new mayor and a reinvigorated economic-development effort had something to do with it. The city started growing. But what was happening outside city limits also affected his decision.

“Denver started getting a bit overcrowded and expensive, (so) we felt we’d be losing if we moved,” said Juran, who previously kept his head down to focus on business but now finds himself so upbeat about Colorado Springs, he agreed to join the local chamber’s economic-development board at Mayor John Suthers’ request. “Right now, I’ve become active because I’m trying to build a town that our employees want to stay in and one that my kids want to move back to. They’re in college right now, so I have an ulterior motive.”

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The Gazette: Colorado Springs could soon be No. 1 housing market in U.S., according to report

Colorado Springs’ housing market has ranked as one of the country’s hottest during much of 2018 because of strong demand and rising prices, according to national publications and real estate groups.

Next year, it could be No. 1 in the nation.

In its annual report that looks at housing markets to watch, online real estate service Trulia ranks Colorado Springs as the No. 1 market poised for growth in 2019. That ranking indicates sales and prices could remain on the upswing in the Springs next year.

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Time Magazine: The 10 Best Big Cities to Live in Right Now

You don’t have to empty your savings account to afford city living in America—at least not in these locations.

Urban areas offer a gateway to culture or a medley of activities, but they typically come with a high price tag. That’s why MONEY crunched the numbers to find big cities—those with a population of 300,000 or more—with the best of all worlds: attractions, iconic neighborhoods, a relatively low cost of living, and promising job growth.

Here are our top 10 picks for best big cities to live in. (See MONEY’s full 2018 ranking of the Best Places to Live in America.)

 

7. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Skiers ride the lift at Eldora Mountain Resort near Colorado Springs.
Skiers ride the lift at Eldora Mountain Resort near Colorado Springs.
Matthew Staver—Bloomberg/Getty Images
  • Average Family Income: $75,795
  • Median Home Price: $285,000
  • Projected Job Growth (2017-2022): 7.1%

About 70 miles south of Denver, Colorado Springs was recently ranked one of the country’s best tech hubs by the Computing Technology Industry Association. The city will see projected job growth of 7% by 2022, and the cost of living is relatively low among big U.S. cities, according to PayScale.

Skiers enjoy the region’s proximity to major ski getaways like Aspen and Vail, as well as the area’s surrounding resorts, including Eldora Mountain Resort, which offers 680 acres of terrain and 300 inches of snowfall a year.

Here’s a summit for the courageous: the 2,000-foot-high, one-mile hike up the Manitou Incline. Climb all 2,744 steps, and you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views of the city below. Nonathletic types are welcomed too. The annual Labor Day Lift Off features hot-air balloons and a festival with live music, skydiving demonstrations, and a doughnut-eating contest.

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