Below is the open letter that was published in local newspapers in September 2014 shortly after Colorado Springs Forward was founded. Those supporting the vision, mission and goals of Colorado Springs Forward signed this open letter.
Fellow citizens of Colorado Springs:
Join with us to re-establish Colorado Springs as the most inviting and respected city in which to live, work and play.
There are many positive aspects of Colorado Springs today, including a spectacular natural location; world-class businesses such as Atmel, Bal Seal Engineering, Cherwell Software, Spectranetics, dPix, and USAA; a strong and dynamic community of non-profit organizations including the USOC; a thriving higher education infrastructure with UCCS, CC, the USAFA and PPCC; the internationally renowned Broadmoor resort; a strong and proud association with our military installations; the thousands of small businesses who are an essential part of the economic fabric of our area; and many people who care deeply about our community.
Our unemployment and underemployment rates remain higher than most regions in our state.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the year 2000 through the end of last year, our employment grew by only 7,000 jobs, while our population increased by almost 130,000. During the same time, across Colorado, employment grew by 170,000 (8%) more jobs while the Pikes Peak region workforce grew by only 3%. We are losing ground within our own state.
Our underfunded infrastructure and divisive local government have exacerbated our inability to attract and retain quality jobs.
For the first time in over 30 years, our community is not on the preferred list of cities under consideration for corporate relocation and expansion.
Most of us would agree that our infrastructure is crumbling with pot holes, rough roads, bridges in need of repair, overburdened traffic systems and inadequate stormwater management. The grass and trees are struggling to survive in our parks and street medians. What does it say about our community spirit and pride?
If we are going to attract good job opportunities for our citizens and their families, we need to show that our infrastructure is adequately funded and well-maintained.
As we address our economic and infrastructure challenges, we must improve our local government process. Our municipal government needs to function in a fashion that is moving the city forward. We must have a city charter that more clearly defines roles and responsibilities for both branches of government so they work together for the future success of Colorado Springs.
We pledge an ongoing investment of time, energy and resources to help protect and enhance the business climate and the quality of life across the greater Colorado Springs region so that we may all enjoy a dynamic and vibrant community that we are proud to call home.
We do not underestimate the challenge.
We are not going to replace the work of existing organizations. Our purpose is to drive collaboration and develop a path for a shared vision to enable Colorado Springs and its residents to achieve success.
We welcome individuals and organizations who feel the same call to action as we do. Today, if we act together as a community, we have the ability to create one of the most vibrant and exciting places to live in the United States. We cannot let this opportunity pass us by.
We must do better. We can do better and it’s time. It’s time to change the culture. It’s time to change the message. Join us to help Colorado Springs succeed.