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City to address funding gap for proposed downtown pedestrian bridge

Posted at 6:46 PM, Dec 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-10 21:16:03-05

COLORADO SPRINGS-  Developers say someday Southwest Downtown Colorado Springs could resemble the area surrounding Coors Field in Denver, but with city leaders saying no to public dollars for the latest bridge project the developer needs to come up with the money to get it off the ground.

Construction continues on the Olympic Museum southwest of downtown, the plans have been revealed for a project to build an iconic pedestrian bridge connecting it to America The Beautiful Park while also revitalizing the streets at Vermijo and Sierra Madre. The problem is the cost has increased since the project was first presented to city council a year and a half ago.

“Costs continue to go up. The cost of steel and other materials like concrete that are all part of the design material pallette have continued to increase in double digit percentages over time,” said Jeff Finn, the head developer of the project.

There is now a more than $20 million funding gap and city leaders say they refuse to spend public dollars.

“I think part of the frustration was we were told something 18 months ago. Life happened, but we weren’t given an update so the surprise… we don’t like surprises I think that’s part of the frustration,” said Colorado Springs City Councilman Don Knight.

The developer believes he can bridge the funding gap now, but wants city leaders to approve an Urban Renewal Area which could help him get his money back in the long run.

“The project is at its riskiest moment today if you think about that. This is where we as the developer do go at risk,” said Finn.

The pedestrian bridge would need to be fully funded before crews can begin construction in early 2019. The city council will discuss this further at their meeting Tuesday and will vote on the Urban Renewal Area. It could be the end of the project as designed if it fails. We’ll keep you posted.