After hearing more than six hours of debate, the Colorado Springs City Council denied an appeal against a Broadmoor expansion plan, clearing a path for the project to move forward.
In February, Broadmoor officials submitted a proposal to nearly double the size of the Broadmoor Hall convention center that would develop an unpaved parking lot currently used by employees of the resort.
“We’re after getting people to spend the night at the Broadmoor and by the way, when we do this, there is a broad economic impact up and down Lake Avenue,” said Jack Damioli, the CEO and president of the Broadmoor.
Damiolo said the annual Space Symposium generates around $30 million in economic activity for the city.
The economic boons didn’t weight too heavily on the neighbors opposed to the project, who say the traffic, parking, and most importantly, the clogging of evacuation routes, will be detrimental should the project be approved.
“I find it odd that even with this development review criteria, nowhere in the Broadmoor’s application, nowhere in the city’s planning review, and nowhere in the report to the city planning commission, I didn’t see any mention of the word wildfire,” said Cyndy Kulp, a resident opposing the project who presented to the city council.
Kulp also is concerned about parking. During her presentation, she showed a video where cars lined the streets, parked in the neighborhoods around the resort.
Resort representatives said there was no need for those people to park on the sides of streets, as even during the busy week of the Space Symposium, on-site parking did not reach capacity and neither did supplemental parking at the World Arena, according to their statements made during the city council hearing.
“Time after time a year, more and more people say the Broadmoor is encroaching on what has been a pristine neighborhood environment,” said Bill Murray, the only city council member to vote in favor of the appeal.
The resort rejects that thinking on the grounds it has been on its current location since 1918.
The concerns of the Broadmoor’s activity were felt by city council members who voted against the appeal, thus in favor of the Broadmoor’s project.
“You’ve been good neighbors in lots of ways, but in other ways, maybe not,” said council president Richard Skorman, “They may not be related to this.”
“I think we really need to sit down and really work it out with the neighborhood,” Skorman said.
The driver for the expansion project is the Space Symposium. During his presentation against the appeal, Damioli said for that event, the resort erects a temporary tent, and during the 2018 symposium, wind ripped through the sidewalls. The incident caused a 24-hour interruption to the three-and-a-half-day event.
The permanent structure, he said, will give them a needed permanent structure for conventions like that, though he did not elaborate if it meant more events of a similar size.
“This impact of the number of people, ladies and gentlemen, that’s the last thing we want to do are overrun the Broadmoor. We’re a perennial five stars, five diamond award winner. We’ve held each of those awards since inception.” Damioli said.
Resort representatives said they will be working on a building permit immediately to begin construction.
The construction will need to move fast, as the resort’s goal is to have the facility ready for next year’s Space Symposium in March 2020.