Date: June 24 – 29, 2012
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Sponsor: Downtown Development Authority, City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Nor’wood Development Group, Griffis-Blessing, Colorado Springs Utilities, Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College, United States Olympic Committee, Convention and Visitors Bureau
Chair: William H. Hudnut III
Subject Area: Downtown Revitalization
Summary of Recommendations
Chaired by Former Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut a first-ever joint Urban Land Institute / International Downtown Association (IDA) panel visited Colorado Springs June 24-29, right in the middle of the horrific Waldo Canyon Fire. The Waldo Canyon Fire was one of the largest and most destructive forest fires in Colorado’s history. It was a testament to the spirit and tenacity of the city stakeholders and civic leaders that they were able to participate in the panel and deal with the impacts of the fire at the same time.
Colorado Springs is situated near the base of one of the most famous American mountains, Pikes Peak, in the eastern edge of the Southern Rocky Mountains. With a population of 415,000 it is the second most populous city in Colorado. Home to the Air Force Academy, the US Olympic National Governing Bodies, Colorado Springs also has a burgeoning high tech industry centered around military installations such as Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base and Shriever Air Force Base. While the suburbs have grown dramatically over the past few decades, there has been a steady decline of the downtown core.
The assignment for the panel centered on revitalization of downtown. Recognizing that a vision must be created locally, the panel offered the following as a starting point: Downtown Colorado Springs, staying true to its pioneering spirit, will create a cohesive, vibrant, mixed-use center that embraces the region’s history, culture, and natural assets to offer economic opportunity for its citizens.
Specific panel recommendations included:
- Establishment of an Arts and Entertainment District
- Reimagining America the Beautiful Park as a new Olympic Park with a new iconic bridge and wall of Olympians of all Americans who participated in the modern Olympics since 1896.
- creating new mixed use and mixed income housing units in the core of downtown
- ensure an appropriate mix of retail, late-night entertainment, dining, cultural attractions and business development ensure an appropriate mix of retail, late-night entertainment, dining, cultural attractions and business development
- establishing new retail and commercial activities
- partnership strategies to collaborate with the US Olympic Committee, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Colorado College.
- launching new tactics and strategies for addressing downtown management and programing
Announced at public presentation at the end of the panel week, ULI committed to return with a free disaster panel. Like other disaster endeavors the panel will be paid for by the ULI Foundation.