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Cog Railway Public Forum
October 2, 2018 @ 6:45 pm - 8:30 pm
NEWS RELEASE For more Information:
September 26, 2018 Meghan Weiss 719-685-2601
Manitou Springs Schedules Public Forum for
Additional Discussion Related to Cog Railway Agreement,
Impacts, and Opportunities
Citizens Invited to Hear More about Possibilities for Hiawatha Gardens, the Mobility Study and to Provide Input on Topics Surrounding Cog Operations
Manitou Springs, CO – The public is invited to participate in a Community Conversation from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m., Tuesday, October 2, at Manitou City Hall, 606 Manitou Avenue, focused on the impacts and opportunities related to Cog Railway operations should the owners decide to rebuild and reopen the popular tourist attraction in the City of Manitou Springs. For special assistance attending the meeting, send an email to email@example.com or call 719-685-2554.
Based on public feedback to the initial draft agreement developed in May/June 2018 between the City of Manitou Springs and the owners of the Cog Railway, the City recently submitted a revised draft agreement to the Cog owners proposing more favorable conditions for the City regarding tax caps, excise taxes, and payments to the City by the Cog to offset tax revenues lost since the Cog ceased operations in March.
“The extensive public input we received on the first draft of the agreement resulted in improvements that will benefit the City of Manitou Springs,” said Manitou Springs Mayor Ken Jaray. “We are very thankful for the citizens who came forward and voiced their concerns and helped shape what we believe is now an even better agreement that is currently being reviewed by the Cog owners. During the October 2 forum, while we are awaiting feedback from the Cog, we will present thorough information about the process thus far leading to the improved new agreement,” said Jaray.
The October 2 Community Conversation provides an opportunity for citizens to now give input into some of the specific long-term impacts related to the potential for the Cog resuming operations such
as traffic and mobility, parking (where should it be, should it continue to be free, etc.), and changes
along Ruxton Avenue, to name a few. During the forum, public suggestions will be solicited on how to best capitalize on the long-term opportunities that exist for Manitou Springs with a rebuilt Cog Railway. “There are so many Manitou Springs projects currently in play that all are connected and directly related to the Cog agreement that the public still has opportunities to weigh in on,” said Jaray. “During the October 2 forum we will discuss those, including the Incline, citizen input from the recent Hiawatha Gardens public meeting, and the Mobility Study,” said Jaray. “We negotiated as part of the current Cog agreement a collaborative Mobility Study in which the Cog, the City of Colorado Springs and the City of Manitou Springs each funded up to $50,000 for the study designed to enhance the lives of Manitou residents, business and property owners,” said Jaray.
Discussions about the future of the Cog Railway began in March when the Cog Railway owners announced it was closing the popular tourist attraction and economic engine to Manitou to assess the safety of its operation. The owners have not yet announced a decision to rebuild and reopen the Cog, pending negotiations with the City of Manitou Springs through the agreement process.
Manitou Springs City Council expects to have a first reading of the revised draft agreement during a special council meeting at 6 p.m., October 9 at Manitou City Hall. Citizens will be invited to provide comments concerning the new agreement. A second reading of the new agreement will be heard by City Council at 6 p.m., October 23, also at Manitou City Hall. This will include a Public Hearing where citizens will again be invited to share comments. Council will vote on the agreement after hearing from the community.
“An agreement with the Cog needs to move forward to avoid the risk of losing or delaying the Cog’s reopening.,” said Jaray. “The Cog is a huge contributor our local economy. Every day it sits not open for business is a loss to City tax revenue, a loss to our businesses who rely on the tourism it attracts and is a loss to our citizens, not to mention the economic loss to the Pikes Peak region as a whole,” he said. “The revised draft agreement is based on extensive public feedback we have received since the first agreement was drafted. We believe it’s been improved in a way that fairly serves the interests of all involved.”
About the City of Manitou Springs:
Manitou Springs was founded in 1872 by Englishman Dr. William Bell and his business partner General William Palmer as a scenic health resort. The town was incorporated in 1876 (the same year Colorado became a state) and is now a home rule city of approximately 5,000 residents located on the western edge of an urban area of over 500,000 people (Colorado Springs). Best known for its scenic landscapes, cool mountain air, healing mineral springs, hiking trails, year-round activities, and welcoming spirit, Manitou Springs thrives as a popular tourist destination. In fact, tourism is the mainstay of the local economy.