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Colorado Springs: Economy

Colorado Springs: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

The economy of Colorado Springs is based primarily on the military installations in the area as well as on the aerospace and electronics industries and tourism. The military employs one fifth of the work force in the city. Fort Carson, a U.S. Army base, is the largest employer, maintaining more than 15,000 people on its payroll. The U.S. Air Force Academy, Fort Peterson Air Force Base (AFB), and the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) are also major employers.

Colorado Springs is a center for space research. The city is the site of the Combined Services Space Center and the Consolidated Space Operations Center, which are involved in the Strategic Defense Initiative and handle military missions of the Space Shuttle. The U.S. Space Foundation (USSF) and the Space Commands at Peterson AFB also provide a conducive environment for developing future space-related projects. As a result of growth in the aerospace industry, several high-technology firms have been attracted to Colorado Springs. Hewlett-Packard and 17 other major electronics companies, combined, employ nearly 10,000 workers.

Since the turn of the century, when the city's grand hotels made it famous, Colorado Springs has been a major tourism center. Pikes Peak and the natural beauty of the surrounding area drew over 6.2 million visitors in 2003; the U.S. Air Force Academy is the main man-made attraction in the state. The city's average gross income from tourism is near $1 billion, providing a substantial boost to the construction industry.

Items and goods produced: advertising film, granite, concrete, dairy products, brooms, novelties, chemicals, pottery, bricks, airplane engine mounts, machine tools, shell fuses, electric motors, castings, electronics, plastics, steel culverts, printed and published works

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

At the local level, El Paso County contains an Urban Enterprise Zone offering state and local credits for new jobs, investment, and research and development expenditures. The Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Council will package private and public incentives for relocating or expanding companies that are tailored to the specific needs of the company. The private sector and government in Colorado Springs cooperate to encourage new business and industry through such incentives as low corporate tax rates, a Foreign Trade Zone, and training programs. The Colorado Office of Business Development and International Trade offers services in bringing national and foreign investment to the state.

State programs

In 2004 Forbes magazine rated Colorado Springs the 24th Best Place for business in the entire country. There are numerous venture capital firms throughout the state, including the Colorado Quality Investment Capital Program.

Job training programs

The Colorado Flexible Industry Related Start-up Training program is available to assist companies; Pikes Peak Community College has its Corporate Workforce and Economic Development Center for delivery of training funded under this program. The Pikes Peak Workforce Center helps with placement, job matching, and training workers. The Colorado Office of Business Development and International Trade offers Colorado First grants for new businesses and Existing Industry grants for training and staff retention purposes.

Economic Development Information: The Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation, 90 S. Cascade Ave. Suite 1050 Colorado Springs, CO 80907; telephone (719)471-8183; fax (719)471-9733; email csedc @csedc.org

Development Projects

Development in the downtown area is booming due to the Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership. The Depot Arts District is planned to offer affordable housing, studio, and retail space. Palmer Village will be a new neighborhood in the Southwest Downtown Area, bringing urban renewal to an underused area. The Pikes Peak Outdoor Market, featuring dozens of vendors selling Colorado produce, free-range meat, fine art and crafts opened on 2004, with an indoor market opening in 2005.

Three business parks on the north side of Colorado Springs saw considerable activity in the late 1990s and early 2000, with commitments by several large "new economy" companies. Progressive Insurance will build a 150,000 square-foot data center near its recently completed call center in 2005. Intel Corp. opened a new manufacturing operation; software giant Oracle Corp. constructed a building to house its customer support center; financial investment firmT. Rowe Price built a 147,000-square-foot building for a customer service center and planned additional space in the area; and mountain bike equipment maker RockShox Inc. moved its San Jose, California, headquarters and manufacturing operation there. In 2004, Configuresoft relocated its corporate headquarters to fit its expansion. Also on the city's north side Focus on the Family, a media and publishing ministry, completed a $12.6 million expansion, and Compassion International planned a $23 million headquarters. Developers have been so impressed with the economic health of Colorado Springs and with the quality of the companies that have moved in, that more speculative space is planned.

Commercial Shipping

Established as a Foreign Trade Zone, Colorado Springs is a link in the country's import-export shipping network. Eight air cargo carriers operate from Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, and the metropolitan area is served by two major rail freight lines. About 20 motor freight carriers ship goods through terminals in the city.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Colorado Springs boasts a youthful, well educated, willing labor force. Sources of labor include former military personnel, military dependents, retirees, college students, and commuters from other Colorado cities. Labor/management relations are described as excellent; there is a low level of unionization throughout Colorado.

The population of Colorado Springs grew 27 percent between 1990 and 2000, and the number of high-tech jobs in the city has grown greatly in that time. These factors have spurred a shortage of affordable housing and a demand for skilled workers; rapid growth has also begun to strain the local infrastructure. This, in combination with other factors nationwide, is expected to slow local growth.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Colorado Springs metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 247,900

Number of workers employed in . . .

mining and construction: 15,900

manufacturing: 20,100

trade, transportation and utilities: 39,300

information: 9,900

financial activities: 17,200

professional and business services: 35,500

educational and health services: 23,600

leisure and hospitality: 29,700

other services: 14,200

government: 42,600

Average minimum hourly wages of manufacturing workers: $ 16.13

Unemployment rate: 5.4% (December 2004)

Largest employers Number of employees
Fort Carson 15,159
U.S. Air Force Academy 6,410
Peterson AFB/NORAD/Space Command 5,542
Colorado Springs School District #11 3,440
Memorial Hospital 3,100
Penrose-St. Francis Health Services 2,981
City of Colorado Springs 2,424
Hewlett-Packard 2,200
Schriever AFB 2,107
El Paso County 2,029
WorldCom 2,000
Amtel 1,850

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding key cost of living factors in the Colorado Springs area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $250,088

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 96.0 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: 4.63%

State sales tax rate: 2.9%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 2.5% city and 1% county

Property tax rate: ranges between 59 mills and 90 mills depending on school district and other special taxing districts; the average in 2003 was 67 mills. The 2003 residential assessment rate for taxes due in 2004 was 7.96 percent of market value

Economic Information: The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, 2 North Cascade Avenue, Suite 110, Colorado Springs, CO 80903; telephone (719)635-1551; fax (719)635-1571

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Colorado Springs: Recreation

Colorado Springs: Recreation

Sightseeing

Colorado Springs is one of the premier vacation spots in the United States, the majestic natural beauty of Pikes Peak being a principal attraction. Visitors can venture up High Drive, a one-way road without guardrails, to see the spectacular vistas. North Cheyenne Canyon contains unusual rock formations and waterfalls that cascade down the mountains. In the Garden of the Gods, northwest of the city, visitors can hike or horseback ride through huge red sandstone rock formations; the Garden of the Gods is particularly lovely to visit at sunrise or sunset, when the sun's rays set off the natural splendor of the rocks. At High Point a camera obscura is provided for viewing the landscape that surrounds the point.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo displays more than 600 wild animals from around the world in the U.S.'s only mountain zoo. The African Rift Valley area opened in 2003 and features Colobus monkeys, giraffes, other African animals and birds, and an interactive African Play Village for kids. The price of admission includes a visit to the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, which exhibits mementos of this famous American humorist and an 80-foot high observation tower. The May Natural History Museum of the Tropics houses more than 7,000 exotic insects from jungles around the globe.

The U.S. Air Force Academy is one of Colorado Springs's most popular tourist attractions. Visitors can tour the unusual multi-spired chapel, Honor Court and visitor's center. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway takes visitors on a 3-hour round trip tour to the summit of the mountain, at 12,110 feet above sea level. At the U.S. ProRodeo Hall of Fame, rodeo memorabilia is on display.

Arts and Culture

The Colorado Springs Philharmonic presents classical, pops and jazz performances October through May at the Pikes Peak Center. The Chamber Orchestra of the Springs performs five programs a year of pieces meant for small orchestras. The DaVinci Quartet plays concerts in various venues in Colorado Springs and Denver and offers community out-reach to local schools. The Colorado Springs Choral Society has been performing classical and modern pieces since 1956. Students from Colorado College perform during the school year and during the Summer Music Festival, Vocal Arts and New Music Symposia, and during Extraordinary Dance Festival. The famous Broadmoor Hotel resort complex features international performers and hosts concerts.

The Star Bar Players presents four plays per season in the Lon Chaney Theater at the Civic Auditorium. Theatreworks at the University of Colorado presents Shakespeare and contemporary and classic plays. The REP presents musicals at the Fine Arts Center of Colorado Springs. Drama and dance students at Colorado College perform regular seasons at the college. Colorado Springs Dance Theatre sponsors national and international companies to perform at the Pikes Peak Center.

Colorado Springs is home to 20 major museums and galleries, including the Museum of the American Numismatic Association, which houses one of the largest collections of coins and medals in the world. The Fine Arts Center of Colorado Springs is a regional center for all the arts, containing the Taylor Museum of Art, the Bemis School of Art, and a performing arts department, presenting plays, dance, music, and films. Also located in Colorado Springs are the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and Museum and the Pioneer's Museum, which exhibits displays pertaining to the history of the region. Featuring demonstrations of gold-panning techniques, the Western Museum of Mining and Industry showcases machinery used in early gold and silver mining operations. The Peterson Air and Space Museum displays historic aircraft and a moon rock. The Taylor Collection of Native American and Hispanic Art is maintained at the Fine Arts Center. The Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site celebrates the history of Colorado Springs by recreating the settlements of Native Americans and the lives of the settlers of the frontier in the 1800s, with costumed interpreters and special programs.

Festivals and Holidays

Among the annual events in Colorado Springs is the impressive Easter Sunrise Service, celebrated at Gateway Rocks in the Garden of the Gods. Territory Days on Memorial Day weekend brings 100,000 visitors to Colorado Avenue for free entertainment, food, and crafts. On Independence Day is the International Chili Cook-Off in Memorial Park. One hundred cooks engage in an original recipe competition, sharing the day with a fireworks celebration and a performance by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. At the end of July the Annual Broadmoor Ice Revue at the Broadmoor World Arena features Olympic skaters. The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Penrose Stadium, one of the top 10 outdoor rodeos in the country, takes place at the end of August. The celebration includes a parade through downtown Colorado Springs and a street breakfast. August also brings the national Little Britches Rodeo in which children from ages 8 to 18 compete for titles at the Penrose Stadium. Labor Day weekend features the Hot Air Balloon Classic, with the ascension of scores of colorful hot air balloons. The Southwestern Figure Skating Championship comes to the World Arena in October. December brings the Festival of Lights Christmas Parade and Gallery of Trees at the Fine Arts Center.

Sports for the Spectator

A number of sports events are available for viewing in Colorado Springs. The Sky Sox play professional Triple A baseball at Sky Sox Stadium as an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies in the Pacific Coast League. Football fans enjoy watching the U.S. Air Force Academy team compete against top college teams. Basketball, hockey and other college sports are played at University of Colorado and Colorado College. The Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb, the Broadmoor Invitational Men's and Women's Golf Tournaments, and rodeo events also interest spectators in the Colorado Springs area. Greyhounds race at Rocky Mountain Greyhound Park from late August to late November. The U.S. Olympic Complex periodically hosts Olympic Sports Festivals. Pikes Peak International Raceway hosts NASCAR and Indy car races

Sports for the Participant

Outdoor activities abound in Colorado Springs, including climbing, white-water rafting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, cave exploring, and gliding. The city maintains over 12,000 acres with 15 community and regional parks (including Garden of Gods and North Cheyenne Canon Parks) biking and hiking trails, 6 sports complexes, and 123 neighborhood parks. The El Pomar Youth Sports Complex includes 12 baseball fields of various sizes, 8 soccer/lacrosse fields, 6 volleyball courts, and a playground. The Broad-moor Hotel resort complex offers skeet and trap shooting as well as skiing and ice skating in the winter and golfing on three challenging courses during the warmer months. Echo Canyon River Adventures offers half- and multi-day rafting adventures on the Arkansas River. Pikes Peak Alpine School offers instruction for all levels in rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, and back country skiing.

Shopping and Dining

Colorado Springs is served by four major malls, including The Citadel and The Outlets at Castle Rock. Stores specializing in Western gear and Native American art can be found in many areas. In addition, the Old Colorado City Historic District contains many small shops, and the Garden of the Gods Trading Post stocks fine Indian jewelry and Colorado giftware.

Because Colorado Springs is at the center of a popular resort area, it enjoys cuisine from around the world, as well as local Western-style establishments offering barbecue and chuck-wagon fare and Mexican foods. Rocky Mountain trout is a local delicacy. The Broadmoor Hotel maintains nine dining rooms with a range of prices and cuisines. Gourmet food is served at the historic Briarhurst Manor Inn. The Flying W Chuckwagon Supper and Western Show combines fine dining for the family with cowboy music.

Visitor Information: Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, 515 South Cascade, Suite, Colorado Springs, CO 80903; telephone (719)635-7506; toll-free (877)745-3773; fax (719)635-4968

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Colorado Springs: Education and Research

Colorado Springs: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

In Colorado, school district boundaries are independent of city or other political boundaries. There are 15 public school districts within El Paso County; six districts of varying size serve urban areas of Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs School District Eleven, the fourth largest system in the state and largest in the city, is administered by a seven-member, nonpartisan board of education that appoints a superintendent to a two-year contract. Composite SAT scores are consistently above the national average.

The following is a summary of data regarding Colorado Springs School District Eleven as of the 20022003 school year.

Total enrollment: 32,368

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 39

junior high/middle schools: 9

senior high schools: 9 other: 6

Student/teacher ratio: 16.9:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $27,217

maximum: $63,668

Funding per pupil: $7,298 (2002-2003)

About 7,300 students attend 39 parochial and private schools in Colorado Springs, Pre-K through 12th grade. Pine Creek High School, a $16 million technology magnet school, opened in 1998; the school prepares students for college or employment in regional business and provides them with a sense of community.

Public Schools Information: Colorado Springs School District Eleven, 1115 North El Paso Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903; telephone (719)520-2000; fax (719)577-4546

Colleges and Universities

The Colorado Springs area is home to 20 colleges and universities, including the United States Air Force Academy, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and Colorado College. The University of Colorado is a state school offering both undergraduate and master's degrees in interdisciplinary programs such as geography, earth sciences, and environmental studies. Colorado College, opened in 1874, has grown with the city, and offers an unusual learning environment: the Block Plan has students take only one intensive course at a time. Thirty technical, professional, and business schools, including Colorado Technical College, are also located in Colorado Springs.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) serves the residents of El Paso County except Manitou Springs and Widefield School District #3. Residents in those two areas can check out PPLD materials through the Colorado Library Card program. Library facilities include two main facilitiesPenrose Public Library and the East Library and Information Center9 branches, and two bookmobiles for the city and county. A new building for the Fountain Branch is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2006. The library district maintains several diverse and specialized collections. The circulating collection includes books, vertical file materials, audio and video cassettes, record albums, CDs, and DVDs. The library subscribes to hundreds of periodicals and newspapers. The Local History and Genealogy collections, housed in the 1905 Carnegie Library, include books, photographs, manuscripts, maps, blueprints, newspapers, city directories, oral histories, and other items spanning more than 125 years of local and regional history. About 30 other libraries and research centers are housed in the city; most are affiliated with educational institutions, government agencies, hospitals, and churches. The United States Air Force Academy Library, with more than 300,000 volumes, maintains a collection on aeronautics history before 1910; special interests also include falconry and military history. The Charles Leaming Tutt Library at Colorado College houses 435,000 volumes, plus 1,300 periodicals, a government documents repository, the college's Special Collections & Archives, and the Crown Tapper Teaching & Learning Center devoted to exploring ways to improve teaching in the electronic age.

Public Library Information: Pikes Peak Library District, 5550 North Union Boulevard, PO Box 1579, Colorado Springs, CO 80918; telephone (719)531-6333

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Colorado Springs: History

Colorado Springs: History

Rowdiness and Refinement Coexist in City's Early Days

The history of Colorado Springs is the history of two very different communities, one wild and rowdy, the other a model of controlled growth. The area was first discovered by settlers of European descent in 1806 when Zebulon Montgomery Pike came upon a mountain he named Pikes Peak and attempted to climb it. Later, several tribes of Native Americans, namely the Ute, Arapaho, and Cheyenne, lived and battled in the region. They declared what is now called the Garden of the Gods to be sacred ground where the tribes could meet in peace and bathe in the mineral springs.

Mountains rich in silver and gold brought miners into the area. A settlement developed and was called El Dorado City, because of its proximity to the gold mines. This became Colorado City, a rough town full of saloons where frequent brawls and gun fights raged. In 1871, the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, the first narrow-gauge line in Colorado, came to the region. The railroad was directed by General William Jackson Palmer, who began to plan a community near Colorado City. Palmer envisioned the town as a playground for the rich, rivaling the elegant resorts on the East Coast. First called the Fountain Colony, the town was incorporated as Colorado Springs in 1872. According to what was called "The Palmer Pattern of Responsibility," Colorado Springs was planned with schools, libraries, churches, parks, and a college. Citizens of "good moral character and strict temperance habits" were purposely sought; intemperance and industry were relegated to Colorado City across the railroad tracks.

City Becomes Tourist and Military Center

Tourists from throughout the country flocked to Colorado Springs and to the spa at nearby Manitou Springs. By the turn of the century Colorado Springs was the wealthiest city per capita in the United States. At this time it earned the nickname Little London, reflecting the number of Tudor-style houses constructed in the area. During this age of the elegant hotel, the rich and the titled were drawn to the Rocky Mountainsespecially Colorado Springsto play polo and hunt foxes. Colorado City, after suffering great economic vicissitudes tied to the mining industry, was absorbed by Colorado Springs in 1971.

Since World War II, Colorado Springs has become an important focal point of the U.S. military. Fort Carson Army Base was established in the early 1940s; the United States Air Force Academy was completed in 1958. In 1966 the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) was installed inside Cheyenne Mountain as the first warning system for North America against a nuclear missile strike. The United States Olympic Committee created an Olympic Training Grounds in Colorado Springs in 1978. Athletes come from throughout the world to train there, surrounded by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. With a young, educated work force, beautiful weather, and an expanding military and high tech economy, Colorado Springs' future as a growth center in the West will continue for some time to come.

Historical Information: Colorado College, Charles Leaming Tutt Library, 1021 North Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80903; telephone (719) 389-6184

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Colorado Springs: Population Profile

Colorado Springs: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 309,000

1990: 397,014

2000: 516,929

Percent change, 19902000: 31.3%

U.S. rank in 1980: 105th

U.S. rank in 1990: 90th

U.S. rank in 2000: 80th

City Residents

1980: 215,150

1990: 283,112

2000: 360,890

2003 estimate: 370,448

Percent change, 19902000: 27.5%

U.S. rank in 1980: 66th

U.S. rank in 1990: 54th

U.S. rank in 2000: 48th (State rank: 2nd)

Density: 1,942.9 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 291,095

Black or African American: 23,677

American Indian and Alaska Native: 3,175

Asian: 10,179

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 764

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 43,330

Other: 18,091

Percent of residents born in state: 29.6% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 26,920

Population 5 to 9 years old: 26,695

Population 10 to 14 years old: 26,489

Population 15 to 19 years old: 25,828

Population 20 to 24 years old: 26,686

Population 25 to 34 years old: 55,543

Population 35 to 44 years old: 62,744

Population 45 to 54 years old: 48,562

Population 55 to 59 years old: 15,310

Population 60 to 64 years old: 11,334

Population 65 to 74 years old: 18,505

Population 75 to 84 years old: 12,297

Population 85 years and over: 3,977

Median age: 33.6 years

Births (2002, El Paso County)

Total number: 8,530

Deaths (2002, El Paso County)

Total number: 3,408 (of which, 59 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $22,496

Median household income: $45,081

Total households: 141,757

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 9,379

$10,000 to $14,999: 6,966

$15,000 to $24,999: 17,815

$25,000 to $34,999: 18,686

$35,000 to $49,999: 25,750

$50,000 to $74,999: 30,608

$75,000 to $99,999: 16,171

$100,000 to $149,999: 10,893

$150,000 to $199,999: 2,854

$200,000 or more: 2,635

Percent of families below poverty level: 6.1% (41.7% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 20,247

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Colorado Springs: Communications

Colorado Springs: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

The major daily newspaper in Colorado Springs is the morning The Gazette. Weekly publications include The Colorado Springs Independent and the Colorado Springs Business Journal. Local concerns publish sports and hobby oriented magazines of interest to fans of hockey, whitewater kayaking, rafting, canoeing, cycling, hang gliding, rodeo, skating, coin collecting, and table tennis.

Television and Radio

Three commercial television stations broadcast in Colorado Springs; one cable provider is based in the city. The city also receives broadcasts from television stations located in nearby Grand Junction and Pueblo. Fourteen AM and FM radio stations in Colorado Springs schedule a range of music, news, and information programming.

Media Information: The Gazette, 30 South Prospect, Colorado Springs, CO 80903; telephone (716)632-5511.

Colorado Springs Online

Charles Leaming Tutt Library. Available www.cc.colorado.edu/library/specialcollections/Walk/Tutt.html

City of Colorado Springs Home Page. Available www.springs.gov

Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available www.experiencecoloradosprings.com

Colorado Springs Gazette Available www.gazette.com

Colorado Springs School District Eleven. Available www.cssd11k12.co.us

Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. Available www.cscc.org

Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation. Available www.coloradosprings.org

Pikes Peak Library District. Available library.ppld.org

School Demographics. Available cde.state.co.us/cdedistrict/dist1010.htm

Selected Bibliography

Finley, Judith Reid, Time Capsule 1900: Colorado Springs A Century Ago (Colorado Springs, Colo.: Pastword Publications, 1998)

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Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs: Introduction
Colorado Springs: Geography and Climate
Colorado Springs: History
Colorado Springs: Population Profile
Colorado Springs: Municipal Government
Colorado Springs: Economy
Colorado Springs: Education and Research
Colorado Springs: Health Care
Colorado Springs: Recreation
Colorado Springs: Convention Facilities
Colorado Springs: Transportation
Colorado Springs: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1871 (incorporated, 1872)

Head Official: Mayor Lionel Rivera (since 2003)

City Population

1980: 215,150

1990: 283,112

2000: 360,890

2003 estimate: 370,448

Percent change, 19902000: 27.5%

U.S. rank in 1980: 66th

U.S. rank in 1990: 54th

U.S. rank in 2000: 48th (State rank: 2nd)

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 309,000

1990: 397,014

2000: 516,929

Percent change, 19902000: 31.3%

U.S. rank in 1980: 105th

U.S. rank in 1990: 90th

U.S. rank in 2000: 80th

Area: 186 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 6,035 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 47.8° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 17.4 inches

Major Economic Sectors: Tourism, military, space technology, computers and electronics, healthcare, printing and publishing, manufacturing

Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (December 2004)

Per Capita Income: $22,496 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 20,247

Major Colleges and Universities: University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Technical College, Colorado College

Daily Newspapers: The Gazette

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Colorado Springs: Convention Facilities

Colorado Springs: Convention Facilities

Since the turn of the century, Colorado Springs has drawn a steady flow of tourists; since the 1970s the city has made itself equally amenable to conventions and conferences, providing a number of meeting facilities. The Colorado Springs World Arena accommodates 8,000 people for general sessions and the exhibit floor offers 19,500 square feet of space or 180 booths. The Phil Long Expo Center has over 100,000 square feet of exhibition space and can accommodate up to 455 booths. There are many hotels that offer convention and meeting facilities. The 700-room Broad-moor has 114,000 square feet of meeting space and the 316-room Cheyenne Conference Mountain Resort offers 40,000 square feet. There is also the Wyndham Colorado Springs Hotel with 310 rooms and 13,000 square feet of meeting space; Sheraton Colorado Springs Hotel, with 500 rooms and 42,000 square feet of meeting space; and the DoubleTree Hotel Colorado Springs World Arena with 299 rooms and 21,135 square feet of meeting space. There are more than 13,500 hotel rooms in the city.

Convention Information: Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, 515 South Cascade, Colorado Springs, CO 80903; telephone (719)635-7506; toll-free (800)888-4748; fax (719)635-4968

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Colorado Springs: Transportation

Colorado Springs: Transportation

Approaching the City

The Colorado Springs Airport, located east of the city, is served by 8 major airlines, providing 110 daily flights to 13 cities. The airport sits on more than 7,200 acres with two parallel runways and one crosswind runway. It has one of the lowest rates of delays of major airports in the country.

Four major highways lead into Colorado Springs: I-25 (north-south), U.S. 85/87 (north-south), I-70 (east-west), and U.S. 50 (north-south). Commercial bus transportation into the city is available through interstate bus lines.

Traveling in the City

The main north-south thoroughfare in Colorado Springs is I-25, called Monument Valley Freeway within the city. Midland Expressway (U.S. 24) runs east and west, becoming Platte Avenue after it crosses I-25. Other important arteries are Garden of the Gods Road, Uintah Street, and Fillmore Street, all running east and west. Some of the mountain roads are not furnished with guardrails and are not accessible to such vehicles as recreational vans.

Springs Transit is the city's mass transportation system. Thirty-one bus routes run during the day with limited service at night. Many routes meet at the downtown Springs Transit terminal.

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Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs, city (1990 pop. 281,140), seat of El Paso co., central Colo., on Monument and Fountain creeks, at the foot of Pikes Peak; inc. 1886. It is a year-round resort and a booming military, technological, and commercial city. Electronic, computer, mining, and aerospace manufactures are important economically.

The town of El Dorado (later Colorado City) was founded on Fountain Creek by gold miners in 1859. In 1871, Gen. William Palmer and the Denver and Rio Grande RR established the city of Fountain Colony nearby; the modern name was adopted because of the many mineral springs in the area. Colorado Springs absorbed Colorado City in 1917. The city grew enormously in the late 20th cent.

The seat of Colorado College, a Univ. of Colorado branch, and Nazarene Bible College, Colorado Springs is also the site of a U.S. Olympic training center and the headquarters of Pike National Forest. The United States Air Force Academy is just north; also nearby are U.S. Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, and Cheyenne Mountain.

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Colorado Springs: Health Care

Colorado Springs: Health Care

The Colorado Springs metropolitan area is served by five major hospitals. Memorial Hospital, with 477 beds, was named in 2004 by ModernHealthcare as one of the nation's top 100 hospitals for cardiovascular care. It is also a regional center for high-risk pregnancies, with a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Penrose-St. Francis Health Services runs Penrose Hospital, Penrose Community Hospital, and St. Francis Health Center. Penrose Hospital completed a $52 million expansion in 2005 with the opening of "E Tower," containing critical care and cardiac units, a wellness center, a chapel, and a new main lobby. SemperCare Hospital is a long-term acute care hospital with 30 beds. There are a variety of rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and behavioral health centers in the city and surrounding county.

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Colorado Springs: Introduction

Colorado Springs: Introduction

At the foot of Pikes Peak, the highest peak of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is a city surrounded by natural beauty that draws millions of visitors a year. Its municipal parks include the breathtaking Garden of the Gods, once sacred Native American tribal grounds. Upon ascending Pikes Peak in 1893, Katharine Lee Bates wrote the words to "America the Beautiful"; the lyrics "purple mountains' majesty" refer to the vistas around Colorado Springs. Now an important center of military installations, Colorado Springs is home to the United States Air Force Academy, the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Commands, Consolidated Space Operations Center, and Fort Carson.

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Colorado Springs: Geography and Climate

Colorado Springs: Geography and Climate

Colorado Springs is located on a high, flat plain at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, in eastern central Colorado. To the east of the city are rolling prairie lands and to the north is Monument Divide. The climate of Colorado Springs is relatively mild and dry, since the city is protected from harsh weather by the Rocky Mountains in the west. In the winter, Colorado Springs is warmed by the Chinook, a wind whose name means "snow eater."

Area: 186 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 6,035 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 28.1° F; July, 69.6° F; annual average: 47.8° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 17.4 inches

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Colorado Springs: Municipal Government

Colorado Springs: Municipal Government

Colorado Springs operates under a council-mayor form of government. Elections are held every four years for mayor, four council members-at-large, and four council members from the districts where they reside. Colorado Springs is the seat of El Paso County.

Head Official: Mayor Lionel Rivera (since 2003; current term expires 2007)

Total Number of City Employees: 2,500 (2004)

City Information: City Hall, PO Box 1575, Colorado Springs, CO 80901; telephone (719)385-CITY

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