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North Colorado Springs ready to accommodate families for USAFA graduation after years of extensive growth

Posted at 2:26 AM, Jun 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-01 09:39:00-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Thousands are arriving in town for the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony on Thursday as cadets become commissioned officers.

For many families, this is the first time back to the city after dropping off their loved ones to begin their Air Force careers. With extensive growth in the northern part of Colorado Springs over the years, the city may look completely different to visitors.

Greg Dingrando with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department said around 37% of permits being pulled in the Pikes Peak Region are north of Woodmen Road.

"If you were to drive, say Interquest, in particular, five years ago, to now, it's just totally, totally different. You're going to see a lot of restaurants in particular, but also apartments, hotels, and a lot of really commercial growth going up in that area," he said.

In the past 10 years, there have been over 1,800 permits pulled for new commercial development (not including multi-family housing) in the Northgate area.

Bob Cope, Economic Development Officer for the City of Colorado Springs, said the City for Champions project that started in 2012 was a large catalyst for the growth of the city.

"When it got started in 2012, we were still in the grips of the 2008 recession, and we really hadn't grown out of that," Cope said. "City for Champions is really that first spark that got our citizens thinking and investors thinking that this is a community on the rise."

The large-scale project included the construction of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, Weidner Stadium, the Ed Robson Arena, the William J. Hybl Sports Medicine & Performance Center at UCCS, and the new visitor center and companion hotel at the Air Force Academy.

"As far as the visitor center itself, you can see the really unique architecture there. It's being designed to look like an aircraft in flight or taking off in flight," said Cope.

He said the projected completion date for the visitor center is the end of 2024.
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