NewsCovering Colorado


Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers delivers his final State of the City

Posted at 12:07 PM, Sep 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-12 14:53:13-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Mayor John Suthers delivered his 8th State of the City address today. His address was at the Broadmoor where he highlighted the city's goals and accomplishments. He spoke about our local infrastructure, economic growth, and community collaboration and identified and discussed current challenges.

Suthers spoke in his address about the continued success of the city, joking about how residents used to complain about how roads need to be fixed, and now the complaint is that there is too much road construction. On a serious note, he said in the last 8 years, Colorado Springs has grown by 50 thousand people moving it to the 39th largest city in the US.

He said Colorado Springs is now among the top 10 cities where college graduates want to live, generating 47 thousand jobs since 2015 with a growth rate of 17% over the last 10 years. He cited innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment over the last 8 years contributing to this growth being able to turn the City of Champions from a concept to reality.

“These public/private partnerships and investment means millions of visitors, thousands of jobs, and billions of dollars of economic activity for our city.”

One project he highlighted was Polaris Point calling it a “grownup Disneyland” with things like go-carts, Top-Golf, movie theaters, and much more.

He was also excited to announce that tourism is strong in the Pikes Peak region. Speaking of growth at the Colorado Springs Airport thanks to Southwest Airlines carrier. He said next June, the city will host the US Weightlifting Championship and the World Jump Rope Championship. “You laugh,’ he joked at the crowd but ‘That 10-day event involves 3,000 participants from 30 countries and 10,000 hotel nights.”

Suthers brought up the need to keep Space Command in Colorado Springs but also noted that regardless, the city will continue to grow in US Defense and Military forces. “Military & defense industry has been & will remain the largest sector of our economy,’ said Suthers, ‘given the critical missions and facilities located here, that sector will continue to grow.”

Regarding the impending economic crisis, Suthers said that the city budget was in a “healthy situation” and said it was the city administration that has been deliberate and intentional in working to maintain the city's reserve.

He said one of the main priorities would be public safety, pointing to wildfire preparedness and the city's most recent initiative called COSReady. He also discussed the need for more first responders. The city has added 120 police officers in the past eight years, and 48 new firefighters. 64 police officer positions remain open as of right now. However by 2035, the city will need to add 200 more police officers, build two new substations, add 80 more firefighters and build five new fire stations.

“We will need to do all this to maintain the reasonable response times our citizens need and deserve,” said Mayor Suthers.

He’s encouraging voters to look at renewing and extending PPRTA when they see it on the ballot in November and wants to see the expansion of Marksheffel Blvd and Powers to I25.

He hopes to see many projects completed after his last term as mayor including the Fountain Creek Watershed project, the development of Pikes Peak Quarry, Jimmy Camp Creek, and the continued development and maintenance of places like Coral Bluffs Open Space.

Suthers thanked the city councils and members for their continued support, “Together, we have shown our citizens that a strong mayor and city council can still work together to accomplish tremendous things for our city.”

His full address can be found here.

Watch KOAA News5's Ashley Portillo tonight at 4 PM for more highlights on his address.

Suthers was re-elected for a second term in April of 2019 and is the 41st mayor of Colorado Springs. His first four years include creating improvements to infrastructure for massive road reconstruction across the city. He also worked to pass Ballot Measure 2A which reestablished the city's stormwater systems.

He also issued a statement earlier this year citing issues with the GAO Report's recommendation to move Space Command out of Colorado Springs. "These deficits should not and cannot be accepted by the American people,' said Suthers, 'especially on this critical matter of national security." He appealed to the White House Administration to take appropriate action in the interest of national security.

Recently, Suthers considered the idea of a potential park in place of the recent closure of the Martin Drake Power Plant. Other possibilities for the area include an area for kayaking as well as commercial and residential real estate but the project would be long-term happening over the next ten to fifteen years.

He's also remained a vocal opponent to legalizing recreational marijuana sales in the city, most recently when the issue gained enough petition signatures to be on the ballot this November.

“I’m vehemently opposed to recreational marijuana in Colorado Springs,” said Mayor Suthers. “When we legalized recreational marijuana in the state, I remember the promises. Number one: there'll be all kinds of money for schools, roads, all that kind of stuff. But all the money we've taken in, barely pays for the regulation of marijuana and it doesn't pay for the social problems. Police need more money to enforce it. Drug treatment centers need more money. It’s not paying for the damage that it's doing.”

Mayor Suthers and City Council have strongly opposed the sale of recreational marijuana since it was legalized in Colorado in 2012. He says the black of market of sales is still prevalent, and no better than it was 10 years ago. He also said the THC levels is dangerous for kids and young adults, and is having a negative impact on them as well.

Mayor Suthers says, while he doesn't believe marijuana will become illegal again in Colorado, “We’re creating an environment where young people don't think there's any problem with it, and some of them are moving on to serious drugs.”

He voiced his concern that if recreational marijuana sales passes in Colorado Springs, it would be a part of the conversation about moving the U.S. Space Command to Hunstville, Alabama.


Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.