COLORADO SPRINGS — An ambitious proposal for upgrading the historical City Auditorium in Colorado Springs just got an important endorsement from city leaders. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) giving the go ahead for necessary work to determine the viability of the plan, was made with the newly formed non-profit, Colorado Springs Community Cultural Collective (CSCCC).
"Not only would we be preserving it [City Auditorium], the building, but we would be energizing her in a way that would elevate our entire community," said CSCCC President, Linda Weise. Weise who founded The Colorado Springs Conservatory left her CEO position to lead CSCCC and the effort to bring new life to the City Auditorium.
Others have approached the city in the past with proposals for City Auditorium, but most did not prove viable. This one appears more promising. “They definitely have the right people and the passion to be able to pull this off. It's a heavy lift,” said City of Colorado Springs, Economic Development Officer, Bob Cope.
The appeal to Cope is beyond the building. "I think we're expected to have cultural amenities that large cities have, and we really need to build out that part of our infrastructure." He sees a revitalized City Auditorium, as an asset toward growth and economic development. “Going from technically 30 thousand square feet to nearly 90 thousand," said Weise. There are extensive plans for expansion and renovation, yet at the same time most of the historical parts of the original structure would be preserved. The nearly 100-year-old building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The renovation is designed to support an expanded vision for a cultural center in the city encouraging and fostering creativity. "It's this diversified business model that's afforded us the opportunity to clearly say yes, this will be a sustainable and highly functioning energized hub." The arts will be an integral part of the creative cultural hub, but it also invites education, and the entrepreneurial side of business
The idea now needs to be backed by financial support. The estimated budget for the plan is more than $50 million. The MOU gives CSCCC until February of 2022 to secure $5 million towards the design and construction cost. It makes way for a second one year time-line to fundraise and show proof of the total budget requirement.
Weise sees a rare funding opportunity happening at just the right time. "Here’s the opportunity we have as a community, “said Weise, “Post COVID, with the American relief dollars that are out there, this project checks so many boxes." Even if those dollars can be secured, fundraising will require a broad fundraising campaign.