COLORADO SPRINGS — Groundbreaking for the new sports stadium in downtown Colorado Springs just got the green light. It joins multiple other major City for Champions projects underway. A stadium, museums, a sports medicine facility, and an element many overlook is infrastructure improvements.
Vermijo Street from the Pioneers Museum to the new Olympic Museum is a major infrastructure project happening right now. "It's completely a transformation in the end product here," said Colorado Springs Public Works, Senior Engineer, Ryan Phipps. Vermijo is a downtown road basically considered a side-street among old warehouses. Now it is going through redevelopment to what is called a signature street.
There will still be lanes for vehicles, but the new Vermijo will have extensive space for pedestrians. Vermijo has right of ways much wider than many other streets. “In the area we have 50 to 60 feet and so we get to have a standard roadway plus a pedestrian plaza walkway area all in the same right of way,” said Phipps. The plan includes granite pavers, a canopy of trees and architectural lighting.
The roadway ends at the Olympic Museum, while the corridor continues to America the Beautiful Park. A pedestrian bridge goes in over railroad tracts to connect the gateway park to the pedestrian thoroughfare.
"This is clearly a private/ public partnership," said Colorado Springs Economic Development Officer, Bob Cope. The city’s improvement to public right of ways in in conjunction with private investors planning for redevelopment in the area. Private dollars are estimated near $2 billion over the next 20 years. What is now warehouses and old buildings changing to residential space, offices, and retail store fronts. "Economic benefit over the next 20 or 30 years is in the 100's of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs," said Cope. Improvements happening now are considered an investment that will bring greater returns in the years ahead for both businesses and the city.