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City for Champions project celebrates milestone in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS – One of four major projects started back in 2013 designed to reinvigorate downtown Colorado Springs broke ground Thursday at the UCCS campus, marking a major milestone.

It’s a sports medicine center, part of the City for Champions project, which promises to offer more treatment options and research facilities to help athletes.

It will have the capacity to treat 40,000 patients and it’ll lend space to more injury-recovery research for athletes.
But it’s just one piece of the puzzle which is slowly but surely coming together.

The Colorado Springs Switchbacks are looking forward to the center’s opening next year.

“As they build the sports medicine facility, they’ll be exploring other avenues, other facets of athletic performance and find ways to make improvements, to identify issues early,” said Nick Ragain, President of the Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

But this is one of four venues making up the project and the Switchbacks are especially looking forward to the opening of a brand-new sports and events center which will include a 10,000-seat outdoor stadium.

“We’re excited, we have a great group of community partners on board with […] the stadium,” Ragain added.

The City of Colorado Springs recently requested an extension to submit their “substantial work” plan —
meaning the city needed time to submit a more detailed description of the venue before any work begins.

The extension helps make sure everyone’s on the same page with milestones and deadlines so once they start, there’s no going back.

But rest assured, the Switchbacks say you can still expect to watch the team play in that new stadium in a couple of years.

“It’s just a process,” Ragain explained.
“So we’re just conforming with their process and we’ll get there. We would say that there’s really nothing to be concerned about, we’re going to be downtown opening our doors in 2020.”

The other two projects include an Olympic Museum, set to open in 2020 just in time for the next Olympics, and a new visitors center at the Air Force Academy, which also needed an extension with their “substantial work” plan but will likely open in fall of 2019.

The whole project is designed to draw more sports fans and athletes to Olympic City USA.

“It’s really going to activate our downtown,” described Bob Cope, the Economic Development Officer for the City of Colorado Springs.
“On game night, you’re going to see people with soccer jerseys and hockey jerseys and they’ll be filling the downtown bars and restaurants from one end to the other.”

The city is confident these extensions won’t pose any delays to the projects and they’re continuing to work closely with the Colorado Economic Development Commission, or EDC, to make to sure they all get completed on time.

“[They’re] not delaying the project,” Cope affirmed.
“We’re continuing to work on the pre-development and planning that has to be done.”

EDC granted the city $120.5 million towards the project which will be distributed according to the number of out-of-state visitors each venue is expected to attract.
Private investors are filling in the rest.

Jessica Barreto

Jessica Barreto

Jessica is a general assignment reporter at KOAA News 5. She joined the news team in November 2017.
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