Colorado College with the help of the City of Colorado Springs secured $9M RTA funding to build a $40M 3,407 seat arena and events center in our historic neighborhood on the block between Tejon and Nevada, Cache La Poudre and Dale. The arena was originally proposed in the college’s 2008 Long Range Development Plan as an 800-seat practice arena. The arena is now proposed to be more than 4x larger due to the $9M RTA funding and $10M donation from Mr Robson. Links to Robson Arena related documents:
Final Public CC Robson Arena meeting documents
CC Robson Arena Final Public Presentation (pdf)
Colorado Springs C4C Presentation to the Economic Development Council for RTA funding (pdf)
The Robson Arena is in Form Based Code zone
Near North End Neighborhood Concerns
With the Robson Arena size, number of CC and C4C events and related infrastructure, the NNE is concerned the impact will be detrimental to the surrounding historic neighborhood.
- Impact on Historical Neighborhood
- Proposed arena will impact the historical nature of the neighborhood – 7 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places in the NNE, 3 are across the street from the arena. Historic homes have already been demolished on the block where the proposed arena will be built.
- Proposed arena will be out of scale with surrounding historic structures and the college.
- Approval of Regional Tourism Act (RTA) funding is based on a promise to bring 118,500 net new out-of-state visitors/ year for CC. The business plan for the funding proposes 289 event days per year, which will degrade the livability of the neighborhood (165 – Robson Arena; 84 other CC Venues; 40 both arena/stadium = 289 Total Event Days). The RTA taxpayer funding for the arena is $9M which is roughly 25% of the total arena cost with Mr Robson donating $10M. Link to the Business Plan Page taken from the C4C Presentation link above.
- Parking Concerns
- Arena parking demand is estimated at 1,114 (calculated ~2.6 people per car for 3,407 seats minus 500 student seats). Although CC has claimed to have secured this demand through its on-site parking garage, campus lots, privately owned lots, and site frontage lots. They have only secured these spaces for 18-20 CC Hockey Events, not C4C Events.
- Surrounding neighborhoods will most likely have to absorb overflow parking demands for the arena, taking away parking needed by residents and businesses, decreasing neighborhood aesthetics, livability and value. Some residents do not have driveways and garages.
- There are 7 + theater and sports venues near the arena site with combined seating of 6,000 owned by CC. Only two have dedicated parking – the FAC and Armstrong Hall.
- CC does not enforce their own student and staff parking policies (e.g., multiple, documented neighborhood complaints in ONEN and NNE)
- CC’s parking permit costs and policies (freshman cannot have vehicles) encourage staff and students to park in the surrounding neighborhoods today.
- CC plans to infill the Armstrong parking lot, as it has done with several other “unsightly” parking lots on campus, would further reduce available parking. What on-going process is going to ensure there is sufficient parking for CC’s needs given this plan?
- CC’s 2015 Master Plan advocates consolidating and/or moving campus parking to perimeter areas to improve campus image. Yet, CC has eliminated many parking slots on campus and not built new parking structures or lots. CC’s future master plan must account for parking for all venues they build and/or acquire in the future.
- Environmental and Safety Concerns
- Arena will significantly increase traffic volume and congestion in all surrounding neighborhoods, increasing CO2 emissions and reducing neighborhood air quality.
- Nevada Avenue, which is already unsafe, will become more dangerous and congested due to arena traffic and street narrowing of Cascade Avenue and Weber Street.
- Arena events will generate noise and light pollution before and after events.
- At risk teens from the Dale House Project may be exposed to a detrimental late night atmosphere.
- Arena attendees searching for street parking will endanger other vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. https://www.csindy.com/coloradosprings/driver-in-fatal-crash-was-racing-for-a-parking-space-police-said/Content?oid=5296451
- Arena attendee vehicles will encroach on crosswalks, intersections and driveways, creating a safety hazard for vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Arena commercial lighting will disrupt residences quality of life.
- Attendees will leave trash in the neighborhoods; possible rowdy behavior.
- Attendees will walk through alleys and yards, potentially bringing crime to the neighborhoods.
- Arena will encourage crimes of opportunity.
- Community Questions & Concerns
- Who is going to pay for all the infrastructure support? Who is going to pay for all the wear & tear on the roads? Who is going to pay for trash pick-up? Who will cover the cost of the police?
- Why not use the World Arena for the occasional large games and use the Robson Arena for average games? This could reduce the size of the arena by half since their maximum number of attendees today is roughly 2,500.
- There is lack of information regarding the use of the arena. They could cover the ice and add an additional 800 seats.
- Citizens and neighbors appreciate the community outreach but fear, as in previous CC projects, it will serve to check a box and their concerns will not be considered and addressed. Especially with the City of Colorado Springs since the arena is a C4C project supported by the City. We feel this is a conflict of interest for the Planning Department, the Downtown Review Board and City Council.
- Citizens and neighbors do not have direct communications with the decision makers.