Colorado Springs wins $120.5 million Regional Tourism Act jackpot

Colorado Springs not only won the Regional Tourism Act jackpot this week, but it won more money than the state was recommending. Whereas the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade suggested giving the city about $53 million in tax rebates over thirty years, the state Economic Development Commission approved $120.5 million -- which should help lessen the long-term cost of the city's plan to build an Olympic museum, a sports arena, a sports medicine clinic and a new U.S. Air Force Academy visitors center.

Colorado Springs was the only applicant for RTA tax incentives this year. Last year, six municipalities applied for the rebates, but only two -- Aurora and Pueblo -- were chosen. Aurora's project, the controversial 1,500-room Gaylord hotel, was awarded the most: $81.4 million over thirty years -- less than the state granted Colorado Springs. But almost immediately, the hotel project began experiencing problems. The city of Aurora is now suing a group of eleven hotels who had earlier sued to stop the Gaylord hotel from being developed.

Last year's RTA losers included the city of Glendale, which is moving forward anyway with its plan to develop a $400 million riverwalk along the banks of Cherry Creek.

Will the Colorado Springs project -- dubbed City for Champions -- fare better than Aurora's? Read the state's recommendations below and decide for yourself.

Colorado Springs RTA Summary

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar