More Big Ideas for Colorado Springs

    More big ideas and visions from local leaders, including Colorado Springs as Age Friendly City, destination for wellness travel, leader in open space, entrepreneurial startups and more.

    big ideas
    Illustration by Tanya Jeffrey Shaw

    Realizing an Age Friendly City

    At Innovations in Aging, we work to ensure that the Springs is welcoming and open to people of all ages—a place where someone who is 8 or 80 can thrive and remain engaged in community. Colorado Springs became an Age Friendly City in March 2016, and now is the time for us to take this on. By 2040, the population of residents 65+ in the Pikes Peak region is projected to grow by 179 percent, and the number of people 85+ is projected to grow by 337 percent! By becoming age friendly, we are safeguarding that we will be a well-designed, livable community that can promote health and sustain economic growth for residents of all ages—to make for happy, healthy residents of all ages. Millennials and baby boomers are looking for the same things: walkability, a variety of transportation options, housing options and the ability to live close to a variety of shops, restaurants and workplaces.

    What if Colorado Springs focused on walking and biking infrastructure? What if our public transportation system reached all areas of the city? What if we helped all our residents age in place? I imagine a city where people ride the bus by choice, where we bike or walk to work, where older people are involved in the civic fabric of our city, and all people can age in place with access to everything they need.

    Claire Anderson, Executive Director, Innovations in Aging Collaborative


    A Thriving Downtown Heart

    A thriving Downtown is essential to the economic health of a city. Downtown Colorado Springs generates 14 times its geographic weight in sales tax revenue for our city, so we feel a strong sense of responsibility to help lift up our entire city economically. In the near term, there are hundreds of new residential units in the pipeline, but concurrent with all that are many other new businesses and improvements. All of that makes our community more attractive to visitors and a skilled workforce.

    [For the future,] I want to see a robust multimodal transit system, both within the city and connecting all of us along the Front Range. And with the inevitable population growth ahead of us, I want us to always be mindful and forward-thinking in terms of impact on the natural environment. Clean air, clean water and our beautiful parks and open spaces don’t just happen accidentally—they take careful stewardship.

    Susan Edmondson, President and CEO, Downtown Partnership


    Collaborate for the Extraordinary

    Since the early days of Colorado Springs, there has been an outstanding creative class here, and in the early part of the 20th century we had even cultivated quite a reputation as an art colony. A community’s arts and culture DNA is essential to a city’s soul, and contributes so many positive outcomes. It is fundamentally tied to a strong, innovative work force, a vibrant tourism sector, and a thriving economy, and arts education leads to an enhanced developmental path for our youth.

    Now that the FAC has joined forces with Colorado College, the coming years and decades promise to bring significant opportunity and excitement for arts cultivation and education in Colorado Springs. Our vision is that one plus one equals far more than two, and that through the collaborative efforts of these two institutions, combined with additional collaboration throughout the community, we will create new learning opportunities and experiences that enrich arts programming for the entire region. We expect that we will help contribute to a new ordinary for the Springs which is truly extraordinary.

    Erin Hannan, Incoming Director, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College


    Ensuring Open Space as Identity

    What if we recognized the land as a central piece of our identity here in Colorado Springs? When you ask, “Why do you live in the Springs?” people look west. It’s Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, but we can do a better job of setting aside public and private land to continue to make sure we have more special natural places—places like Jones Park, which we recently protected to keep open to recreation for future generations.

    Let’s make Colorado Springs a world-class recreation destination with a truly world-class trail system. It could further define our identity as a community and positively impact our economy, tourism and job market. It could increase our quality of life and the ways we play and find solitude. It’s not just about trails and open space and the environment. It’s about our community and what’s important to people; it’s about how we interact with, care for and enjoy our amazing natural assets.

    Rebecca Jewett, Executive Director, Palmer Land Trust


    A Center for Wellness Travel

    Our vision for our International Health and Wellness Center is to be an international destination for optimal health and wellness. We are an organization of highly-skilled and compassionate physicians and clinicians that applies evidence-based health care principles and practices with the latest advances in complementary medicine.

    Our unique destination drew our owners to purchase the Garden of the Gods Club and Resort and the surrounding acreage. It was not lost on us that General Palmer’s vision was rooted in our city’s appeal as a wellness destination 100 years ago. Then and now, our climate and setting make us a popular tourist destination and health resort. With our dry climate and “300 days of sunshine” combined with the sacred setting of Garden of the Gods, we feel we are the ideal destination for wellness as we once were in the 19th and 20th centuries. Candidly, we believe we are humble stewards of the land and historical purpose of our forefathers. We envision our collaborative approach of trusted Western medical models seamlessly entwining best practices of holistic, naturopathic alternatives ultimately aligning so well that the historical vision of our destination’s founders will become forever engrained in our destination’s identity.

    Laura Neumann, Managing Director, Garden of the Gods Collection


    Fostering Sucessful Startups

    I wish to bolster the startup community so Colorado Springs can continue building a diverse economy with sustained, local founders and a bustling business environment with a skilled, well-paid, diverse and meaningfully-engaged workforce. My dream requires an environment that embraces progress, collaboration, relevancy and a growth mindset. At Peak Startup, we are encouraging and supporting those with big dreams by offering free educational programs, community-uniting events, experiential learning opportunities and a robust mentor network. We are connecting startup entrepreneurs to each other, the greater startup community and available resources to help realize their dreams.

    I wish for our citizens to view failure as an opportunity to grow instead of something to be feared and avoided. I dream for the engaged, successful citizens of yesterday and today to reach back and help pull up the next generation. Let’s strengthen our community in its quest to build and climb peaks that rival our backyard landscape.

    Michelle Parvinrouh, Executive Director, Peak Startup


    Interdisciplinary Arts to Fuel the Soul

    Our vision is that art is the soul of a thriving community. Looking back to the Broadmoor Academy of Art days and the founding of the Fine Arts Center, Julie and Spencer Penrose (among many, many others) knew that art was important; the arts are central to our history and must continue to play a key role in who we are as a community.

    One big project I’m really excited about is working on creating an interdisciplinary Masters in Fine Arts program. It would be the first of its kind in Colorado. We really believe—to borrow from author and business thinker Daniel Pink—creativity is the way of the future, and the MFA is the new MBA. So creating a new opportunity for our community to train artists and import talented artists is a critical piece of driving the arts community forward—and in turn moving the entire community forward.

    David Siegel, Executive Director, Bee Vradenburg Foundation


    More on the Way

    Check back soon for more big ideas from the following:

    Chris Cipoletti, Colorado Springs Pioneer Community Investment Fund

    Tom Osborne, The Sports Corp

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