(COLORADO SPRINGS) — With New Year’s just days away, the City of Colorado Springs is reflecting on the accomplishments and highlights from 2022 that will impact the community in the coming year and beyond.

Safety first

The City said in a press release that public safety is the most essential responsibility of government, and this sentiment is reflected in the City’s recently approved 2023 budget, in that 55% of the general fund is dedicated to public safety. This includes 15 new sworn police positions and new vehicles; 32 new sworn fire positions for two new fire stations (Fire Station 24 in the northeast and Fire Station 25 in the southeast); and dedicated funding for the Fire Department’s Homeless Outreach Program (HOP), which is comprised of a mental health worker and paramedic.

Getting COS ready

The City is engaging in a COS Ready community campaign to help residents know how to be prepared for an emergency. A simple 1-2-3 list of actions includes a new “Know Your Zone” feature where community members can learn the specific preidentified zones where they live, work or care about. It also encourages signing up for Peak Alerts to be alerted of emergency situations no matter where you are when an emergency strikes and making a plan.

Building bridges 

According to the City, several infrastructure upgrades occurred across the city in 2022. Three vehicular bridges in North Cheyenne Park, each more than 100 years old, were reconstructed to increase safety while maintaining the park’s historic landscape. The Platte Avenue over Sand Creek Bridge replacement project added a connection to the Sand Creek Trail beneath the bridge at one of the city’s main east-west mobility corridors.

The Airport Road over Spring Creek Bridge project replaced a failing, 47-year-old bridge, added sidewalks across the bridge and connected other sidewalks in the area to vastly improve pedestrian safety and access. Plus, the long-planned Centennial Boulevard Extension opened, providing a four-lane road from Fillmore to Chestnut streets that allows new access to I-25.

New ways to learn and play in Olympic City USA

The grand reopening of Panorama Park in southeast Colorado Springs headlines several new ways to play in Colorado Springs. Other projects completed by the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department this year include a new playground in downtown’s Acacia Park, resurfacing of sport courts in Boulder and Thorndale parks; a new mountain bike pump track and skills trail in Cresta Open Space; several trail restorations, like the Pikes Peak Greenway and Sinton Trail; and construction of new trails including several in Austin Bluffs Open Space

Happy 50th anniversary, Mountain Metro!

This year marked 50 years of Mountain Metropolitan Transit (MMT) service in Colorado Springs. Also in 2022, MMT added THE ZEB free downtown shuttle, the RideMMT mobile ticketing app, and four new battery electric buses to its fleet.

A license to massage

In April, City Council adopted a new ordinance requiring massage therapists to obtain a license. Following stakeholder input from many parties, the ordinance addresses illicit massage parlors and gives the Police Department additional resources to curb human trafficking and illegal activities.

A big year for Colorado’s small airport

2022 was a big year for growth at Colorado’s small airport. The Colorado Springs Airport’s (COS) year included the USDA Forest Service AirTanker base ribbon cutting, a hotel groundbreaking in the Peak Innovation Business Park, finalization of a 20-year airport master plan, and new flight announcements, including the 2023 resumption of Delta Air Lines service to both Atlanta and Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Sun Country Airlines’ new seasonal service to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

National accolades and recognizing positive community impact

In 2022, Colorado Springs was named by U.S. News & World Report as the No. 1 most desirable city in America for the fourth consecutive year. The city was also named the No. 2 best place to live by the same publication. Other notable national recognitions this year include:

  • No. 1 Best Place to Move to Open a Business by ColoradoBiz
  • City of Colorado Springs is the No. 2 Military Spouse Friendly Employer in the Government/Nonprofit category according to Military Friendly®
  • No. 4 Best City for Hiking by LawnStarter
  • No. 5 Most Dog-Friendly City in the United States by TimeOut
  • No. 9 Best-Performing Large City by Milken Institute
  • No. 9 on CNBC’s Top-15 Cities where college students want to live post-graduation