Each month, members of the Colorado Springs media are invited to attend a briefing by Mayor Bach held at the City Administration Building. Press conferences are efficient ways for the media to ask questions on timely topics and also hear updates from key leaders on important initiatives.
Mayor Bach began by wishing everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day a few days early. He then summarized his three key objectives: jobs, transforming city government and building community. To improve the business climate, he has visited and built relationships with many primary employers as well as suppliers and vendors who might bring their operations to Colorado Springs.
The Mayor has also worked closely with the Chamber, EDC and Incubator to nurture and retain existing jobs. He has met with lenders, banks and credit unions to stimulate capitol and venture funding for long term economic vitality. He cited new jobs numbers including Balseal (200) and Stellar Restaurant Solutions (250). El Paso Gas is being encouraged to keep 450 jobs in the area rather than move them to Lakewood CO.
Mayor Bach’s main message is, “We’re open for business in Colorado Springs.”
In other efforts, the Mayor is working to transform city government, attract employers and form Frontrange and State alliances. The Pikes Peak Region Mayors Caucus is an example of local leaders working together to make things happen.
Donna Nelson, Economic Vitality and Innovation Specialist took the podium to describe the Spirit of the Springs initiative which includes:
Celebrate and Connect Colorado Springs
Ms. Nelson cited the Summer and Winter Rally and Celebration Awards to recognize noteworthy accomplishments which bring pride and distinction to Colorado Springs. Volunteer activities included the Bring a Turkey to Work Day Drive which generated 500% more food donations for Care and Share than the year previous. She thanked the Broadmoor for sponsoring the upcoming Mayor’s Cup Golf Fundraiser Tournament, where 100% of all funds raised will come back to the City. Colorado Springs is also the first city to receive permission from NBC to air the Olympic Opening Ceremonies at a downtown Viewing Celebration this summer.
Cultivate Future City Government Leaders
Multiple efforts are underway to build leaders for the future, including the City Careers Awareness Program to be launched in Fall 2012 in local middle schools. Career Fairs will be held at local colleges and universities and soldiers transitioning into civilian life will receive assistance through community partnerships. In Fall 2012, a Community Center after-school program will launch.
Encourage Citizen Involvement
The Mayor speaks regularly at organizations like PILLAR, UCCS and COPPeR to encourage involvement and thank those who step forward in service. Partnering with retirees and Fire Fighters, the Adopt a School Program will augment support to schools needing volunteer help. While we have an actively involved community, more representation is needed from the Pikes Peak Region to serve on State and local Boards and Commissions.
Steve Cox, Chief of Economic Vitality and Innovation spoke next. He said, “It’s exciting for us at this time. Colorado Springs is on the cusp of greatness. The Downtown Solutions Team is part of an overarching vision to do what we can to create a better environment. We want to turn Monument Creek into an amenity where people can gather but we need more people to get onboard.”
The head of the Downtown Solutions Team, Chuck Murphy, spoke about the importance of a safe and secure downtown, noting that cameras work successfully in every city they’ve been used. “We expect decorum from everyone,” he said.
Responding to media questions on the use of cameras downtown, Steve Cox responded with the following: The issue is public safety and the public does not feel safe. Complaints come from businesses and shoppers as a result of drug arrests in Acacia Park, rowdy night time activities and aggressive panhandlers. The Police Chief recommended the use of cameras as a way to redeploy resources. It is a “force multiplier” which will eliminate the need to spend more money on added police.
There will be a $163,000 one-time cost and cameras will be staffed by volunteers and some overtime funding. The camera feed will not be accessible to the public unless there is a resulting investigation. Also sidewalks will be cleaned by volunteers. The CAPS program, Community Advancing Public Safety, have 400 volunteers with a goal of 1100. These people have a passion to invest their time in the community.
Watch the Formal City Council meeting and public input on proposed downtown cameras .