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Renovations Stall: City Auditorium revitalization plan on pause for now

Posted at 6:15 PM, Aug 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-30 21:04:28-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Plans for a multi-million dollar renovation of the historic Colorado Springs City Auditorium have paused as the group is working to reinvigorate the century-old performing arts venue announced they did not raise enough money needed to begin construction.

The Community Cultural Collective set an ambitious goal of collecting more than $50 million for an adaptive reuse of the building.

Linda Weise, President and CEO of the Community Cultural Collective, compared the plan to building a ship in a bottle. The shell of the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, would remain intact while necessary safety, comfort, and accessibility upgrades would happen inside.

"It is one of our last historic buildings in our city and how do we get it to a space where we don't have to knock it down," Weise said.

The collective has worked diligently over the past two years to prove the financial viability of the auditorium.

Local vendors and artisans set up tables and booths inside the auditorium Wednesday for the monthly Moon Market. They're one of many groups who've come to see the value of this space for events and activities.

"It's brought tens of thousands of people into this building that, a lot of them have never been in here," said Weise.

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The city spent some pandemic relief funds on planning and design work. Ultimately, donors and funding partners had concerns about paying for construction on a building still owned by the city.

"They very much want to see the city be financially alongside of them at the table," said Weise.

The group will turn over operations at the facility to the city on November 1st. However, many programs started by the collective will continue.

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They include job training programs in the theater arts and culinary arts which will no operate outside of the auditorium. The collective's mission arts and music literacy program for preschools will also continue.

"We look forward to continuing to work alongside the city to figure out how to make this vision come to life," says Weise.

Colorado Springs Deputy Chief of Staff Ryan Trujillo released a statement Wednesday thanking Weise and the collective for all of their efforts supporting the City Auditorium over the past two years.

"The City does not desire for the City Auditorium to become vacant indefinitely and is committed to assessing the options and next steps for this space," Trujillo wrote. "We will keep the community updated on next steps.”

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