A tepid response from Colorado Economic Development Commission officials on state funding of a new Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) ballpark s raising issues about the proposal’s future.
As you’ll recall, the city’s requested $82 million in sales-tax incentives from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade to help fund four projects, including a new $60.7 million ballpark for the Sky Sox. The “City of Champions” project that would also an Olympics museum and a sports-medicine facility at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. And while the proposal still needs to be fully funded, the initial response from state officials was not encouraging, as reported by the Colorado Springs Independent:
In a July 26 letter to the city, state EDC executive director Ken Lund deemed the city’s application worthy of further scrutiny — but with a caveat: “In my assessment, and while there are still open questions, the Application sufficiently addresses the statutory criteria that the Third Party Analyst will need to conduct a full evaluation and prepare a report. Although I will await the report from the Third Party Analyst, I would note that of the four components in your application, the Olympic Museum appears to most closely satisfy the statutory criteria for award of RTA support.”
There are two ways to interpret Lund’s statement. Optimists say that the museum is merely the brightest star in the constellation. Pessimists (should we call them realists?) see Lund’s careful bureaucratese as a warning to prepare for the worst. Judging from off-the-record comments from several individuals involved in the process, the pessimists are in the majority.
Another issue raised by the Independent: the public isn’t exactly in favor of a new downtown ballpark. One reason for this is the expense, but a prime reason, we suspect, is that the Sky Sox have done a great job in enhancing the gametime experience at Security Service Field and the public doesn’t see the need for a new facility:
“My constituents want me to have another town meeting,” said a recently elected City Councilmember, requesting anonymity. “They want to talk about the [downtown] baseball stadium. They hate it! They’re coming with pitchforks and torches!”
Yeah, that’s a ringing endorsement.
Image courtesy city of Colorado Springs.
RELATED STORIES: Results of Colorado Springs ballpark poll under wraps; Mayor requests state aid for new downtown Colorado Springs ballpark; Who is pushing new Colorado Springs ballpark?; New downtown ballpark under consideration in Colorado Springs
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