Tour of Colorado Springs cycling event postponed until 2013 for lack of city support
- Created on Wednesday, 22 February 2012 23:11
- Written by Scott Rappold
The success of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge last year, pictured above, led cycling advocates to try to organize the Tour of Colorado Springs. Gazette file photo
By R. SCOTT RAPPOLD and DANIEL J. CHACÓN
The wheels have come off the plan for a 105-mile bicycle ride around Colorado Springs this year, after Mayor Steve Bach said he does not support the event.
Bach announced his opposition to the Tour of Colorado Springs during a Mayor’s Counsel Meeting on Wednesday morning. Later Wednesday, organizers said they will delay the event until 2013.
“My concern in the present instance is I don’t see a plan. I still haven’t seen a plan,” Bach said.
“It’s a very interesting idea,” Bach said. “I’m just concerned about we don’t have enough time to make sure it’s as well organized as it should be, that we’ll have reasonable liability risk. We can never have zero liability risk, but reasonable. We just feel we need to take a more strategic approach to this.”
The event was modeled after a city perimeter ride in Arizona, “El Tour de Tucson,” and organizers hoped to draw 1,500 to 2,000 cyclists to a course around the city’s perimeter June 30. It was being organized by Spectrum Marketing.
The Gazette’s outdoors website, outtherecolorado.com, was signed on as a sponsor of the event.
Touting the economic benefits, organizers asked the city to foot the bill for police and fire coverage and traffic control, up to $89,000. Major intersections would have been blocked off while riders passed, and Tejon Street downtown would have been closed before and after the event.
Cindy Aubrey, the mayor’s chief communications officer, said on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon: “What the Mayor is not in support of is spending taxpayer dollars on this event. He said he did not want City funds covering the costs.”
Spectrum Marketing president Rob Quinn said the event could not go on without the city’s support.
“Disappointed? Yeah, we are. But that’s life in this business. Disappointed but undaunted and respectful of the decision and the process,” he said.
Organizers came to the city for help after the 2012 budget was already complete, a sticking point for some on City Council. Quinn said they won’t make the same mistake for the 2013 event. They plan to ask for funding from the Lodgers & Automobile Rental Tax Advisory Committee, which distributes tax revenue on hotel stays and car rentals.
“With a 2013 event, we’ll certainly be on schedule and our sponsors and backers are fine with it, so on to 2013,” he said.
Asked why the event can’t proceed without city support, Quinn said they would have to charge an entry fee that would keep many cyclists away.
“It’s expensive and without the city’s help it would be impossible to do,” he said.
Dave Csintyan, interim CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp., said he didn’t know “where the sticking points are” but that the chamber aligned with the event because it could be an economic vitality engine for the region.
“I also respect the fact that when you’re asking the public sector to come alongside of you, all the t’s have to be crossed and the i’s dotted, so that remains to be seen where the issues are,” said Csintyan.
When organizers pitched their idea during a council meeting Feb. 13, Bach indicated he would support the event.
“I kind of set you up inadvertently at the last meeting because I served up the subject and then didn’t say, ‘By the way, I’m not supporting it,’” Bach told council members.
“Now I’m not supporting it today.”