This week’s COS By the Numbers is very heavy on the “wow, tourism really adds a lot to our economy!” vibe. I’m sure city leaders will see these numbers, think long and hard about what they mean and how tourism contributes to our economic health…and then offer some tax breaks to another defense contractor.
However, lots of other reasons to be excited this week. Oskar Blues is looking to open in the early fall, Volkswagen is going to help the state build out some electric vehicle infrastructure (and in the process cause the Gazette Editorial Board the mental equivalent of constipation) and we literally kick ass at hosting visitors from out of town! Your COS By the Numbers:
COS had its biggest tourism year on record in 2016, with visitors to the city pumping $2.252 billion into the economy. There are all sorts of fun numbers to pull out of the report. My favorite: average size of a party traveling to the city increases from 3.0 to 3.2. Yes you .2 people! Thank you for visiting! The most popular activities; shopping, visiting a state park, hiking, visiting a landmark/historic site, fine dining (really?) and visiting museums. Let’s keep it going COS! [VisitCOS]
15,600 square feet
The size of the new Oskar Blues location in downtown Colorado Springs, which will occupy the previous Old Chicago’s spot. The new venue will feature two bars, one on the main level and one in a newly remodeled basement area, with 46 beers on taps and two wine taps. Oskar Blues will also feature a new kitchen, bocce ball course, pool tables and video games. Time to get your bocce on Colorado Springs! The venue is scheduled to open at the end of September. [The Gazette]
You know how when you go to Denver for something, like a concert or to eat in trendy but slightly overpriced restaurant, and you mention to someone that lives there that you are from Colorado Springs and they sort of wrinkle their nose and look at you like you like there is something wrong with your decision making paradigms? And it makes you pretty pissed and defensive? Well hold your head up people, those Denver fuckers are poaching our spots! The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo plays host to over 100,000 Denverites each year, helping drive the zoo attendance numbers to record levels. The Zoo is one of several attractions the Springs (along with parks that aren’t being shut down because of excessive dog poop) that our neighbors to the north flock to in order to flee the sprawling hellscape known as “the Greater Denver Metro Area”. [Colorado Springs Business Journal]
The Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo (CMHIP), current home of Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Dear Jr.) almost lost its Medicare funding earlier this year when it was found that the institute is about 100 staff people short of where it should be. The decreased staffing capacity has led to new requirements for existing staff, such as the loss of breaks and a freeze of employee leave. The less than desirable working conditions is making it hard to recruit new employees to fill those 100 spots. Shutting down CMHIP would result in the loss of 449 beds designed to treat those with mental health issues. [Colorado Springs Independent]
$290 million to $570 million
The anticipated amount that local officials would have to raise to widen the section of I-25 between Monument hill and Castle Rock. The “Gap”, also known as “fuck I hate driving to Denver please kill me now”, is one of many candidate projects that CDOT is trying to address while facing a $1 billion budget shortfall. No other county or municipality has stepped up to help fill the funding gap, meaning that El Paso County will be on its own for this one. Thanks neighbors to the North!
The Gazette Editorial Board (the “FWB”) suggested in a recent editorial that Colorado’s portion of the Volkswagen emission scandal settlement, in the amount of $68 million, should be applied to the cost of widening the Gap instead of the the current requirement that the funds be used towards building out more green vehicle infrastructure throughout the state. Apart from the FWB’s inability to understand how a legal settlement works, $68 million is literally less than a quarter of what the actual Gap project would cost, at the low end! I’m not great at math, but I think the bigger issue is CDOT, County and City funding, not Volkswagen trying to improve the environment. [The Gazette]