Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs with the Front Range in the background.
Colorado Springs with the Front Range in the background.
Nicknames: 
Olympic City USA,[3]
The Springs[4][5]
Location of the City of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado.
Location of the City of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado.
Colorado Springs is located in the United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs
Location of the City of Colorado Springs in the United States.
Coordinates: 38°50′02″N 104°49′31″W / 38.83389°N 104.82528°W / 38.83389; -104.82528Coordinates: 38°50′02″N 104°49′31″W / 38.83389°N 104.82528°W / 38.83389; -104.82528
Country United States
State Colorado
CountyEl Paso County seat[2]
IncorporatedJune 19, 1886[6]
Government
 • TypeHome rule municipality[1]
 • MayorJohn Suthers (R)[a]
Area
 • Total195.761 sq mi (507.019 km2)
 • Land195.399 sq mi (506.082 km2)
 • Water0.362 sq mi (0.937 km2)
Population
 • TotalNeutral increase 478,961
 • Rank2nd in Colorado
40th in the United States
 • Metro
755,105 (79th)
 • Front Range
5,055,344
Time zoneUTC−07:00 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC–06:00 (MDT)
ZIP codes[8]
80901–80951, 80960, 80962, 80970, 80977, 80995, 80997
Area code719
FIPS code08-16000
GNIS feature ID0204797
Websitecoloradosprings.gov

Colorado Springs is a home rule municipality in, and the county seat of El Paso County, Colorado, United States.[1] It is the largest city in El Paso County, with a population of 478,961 at the 2020 United States Census, a 15.02% increase since 2010.[7][9] Colorado Springs is the second-most populous city and the most extensive city in the state of Colorado, and the 40th-most populous city in the United States.[10] It is the principal city of the Colorado Springs, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area and the second-most prominent city of the Front Range Urban Corridor. It is located in east-central Colorado, on Fountain Creek, 70 miles (113 km) south of Denver.

At 6,035 feet (1,839 m) the city stands over 1 mile (1.6 km) above sea level, though some areas are significantly higher and lower. Colorado Springs is near the base of Pikes Peak, which rises 14,115 feet (4,302.31 m) above sea level on the eastern edge of the Southern Rocky Mountains.

History[edit]

The Ute, Arapaho and Cheyenne peoples were the first recorded inhabiting the area which would become Colorado Springs.[11] Part of the territory included in the United States' 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the current city area was designated part of the 1854 Kansas Territory. In 1859, after the first local settlement was established, it became part of the Jefferson Territory on October 24 and of El Paso County on November 28. Colorado City at the Front Range confluence of Fountain and Camp creeks was "formally organized on August 13, 1859"[12] during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. It served as the capital of the Colorado Territory from November 5, 1861, until August 14, 1862, when the capital was moved to Golden, before it was finally moved to Denver in 1867.[13] So many immigrants from England had settled in Colorado Springs by the early 1870s that Colorado Springs was locally referred to as "Little London."[14] In 1871 the Colorado Springs Company laid out the towns of La Font (later called Manitou Springs) and Fountain Colony, upstream and downstream respectively, of Colorado City.[15] Within a year, Fountain Colony was renamed Colorado Springs and officially incorporated.[16] The El Paso County seat shifted from Colorado City in 1873 to the Town of Colorado Springs.[17] On December 1, 1880, Colorado Springs expanded northward with two annexations.[18][19]

The second period of annexations was during 1889–90, and included Seavey's Addition, West Colorado Springs, East End, and another North End addition.[18] In 1891 the Broadmoor Land Company built the Broadmoor suburb, which included the Broadmoor Casino, and by December 12, 1895, the city had "four Mining Exchanges and 275 mining brokers."[20] By 1898, the city was designated into quadrants by the north-south Cascade Avenue and the east-west Washington/Pikes Peak avenues.[19]: 10 

From 1899 to 1901 Tesla Experimental Station operated on Knob Hill,[21] and aircraft flights to the Broadmoor's neighboring fields began in 1919.[22] Alexander Airport north of the city opened in 1925, and in 1927 the original Colorado Springs Municipal Airport land was purchased east of the city.[22]

The city's military presence began during World War II, beginning with Camp Carson (now the 135,000-acre Fort Carson base) that was established in 1941.[23] During the war, the United States Army Air Forces leased land adjacent to the municipal airfield, naming it Peterson Field in December 1942.[24][25]

In November 1950, Ent Air Force Base was selected as the Cold War headquarters for Air Defense Command (ADC). The former WWII Army Air Base, Peterson Field, which had been inactivated at the end of the war, was re-opened in 1951 as a U.S. Air Force base.[26]  North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was established as a hardened command and control center within the Cheyenne Mountain Complex during the Cold War.[27]

Between 1965 and 1968, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College and Colorado Technical University were established in or near the city.[28][29] In 1977 most of the former Ent AFB became a US Olympic training center. The Libertarian Party was founded within the city in the 1970s.[30]

On October 1, 1981, the Broadmoor Addition,[18] Cheyenne Canon, Ivywild, Skyway, and Stratton Meadows were annexed after the Colorado Supreme Court "overturned a district court decision that voided the annexation". Further annexations expanding the city include the Nielson Addition and Vineyard Commerce Park Annexation in September 2008.[18]

Geography[edit]

View of Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak from the eastern plains

The city lies in a semi-arid Steppe climate region[31] with the Southern Rocky Mountains to the west, the Palmer Divide to the north, high plains further east, and high desert lands to the south when leaving Fountain and approaching Pueblo.[32] Colorado Springs is 69 miles (111 km) or one hour and five minutes south of Denver by car using I-25.[33]

Colorado Springs has the greatest total area of any municipality in Colorado. At the 2020 United States Census, the city had a total area of 125,287 acres (507.019 km2) including 232 acres (0.937 km2) of water.[7]

Metropolitan area[edit]

Colorado Springs has many features of a modern urban area such as parks, bike trails, and open spaces. However, it is not exempt from problems that typically plague cities experiencing tremendous growth such as overcrowded roads and highways, crime, sprawl, and government budgetary issues. Many of the problems are indirectly or directly caused by the city's difficulty in coping with the large population growth experienced since 1997, and the annexation of the Banning Lewis Ranch area to accommodate further population growth of 175,000 future residents.[34]

Climate[edit]

Nikola Tesla sitting in the Colorado Springs Experimental Station with his "magnifying transmitter" generating millions of volts

Colorado Springs has a cooler, dry-winter semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), and its location just east of the Rocky Mountains affords it the rapid warming influence from chinook winds during winter but also subjects it to drastic day-to-day variability in weather conditions.[35] The city has abundant sunshine year-round, averaging 243 sunny days per year,[36][37] and receives approximately 16.5 inches (419 mm) of annual precipitation. Due to unusually low precipitation for several years after flooding in 1999, Colorado Springs enacted lawn water restrictions in 2002. These were lifted in 2005[32] but permanently reinstated in December 2019.[38]

Colorado Springs is one of the most active lightning strike areas in the United States.[31] This natural phenomenon led Nikola Tesla to select Colorado Springs as the preferred location to build his lab and study electricity.[39]

Seasonal climate[edit]

View of the city through the clouds on July 1, 2022, taken from the International Space Station with north oriented towards the left.

Winters range from mild to moderately cold, with December, the coldest month, averaging 30.8 °F (−0.7 °C); historically January has been the coldest month, but, in recent years, December has had both lower daily maxima and minima.[40] Typically, there are 5.2 nights with sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows and 23.6 days where the high does not rise above freezing.[41]

Snowfall is usually moderate and remains on the ground briefly because of direct sun, with the city receiving 38 inches (97 cm) per season, although the mountains to the west often receive in excess of triple that amount; March is the snowiest month in the region, both by total accumulation and number of days with measurable snowfall. In addition, 8 of the top 10 heaviest 24-hour snowfalls have occurred from March to May.[41] Summers are warm, with July, the warmest month, averaging 70.9 °F (21.6 °C), and 18 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs annually. Due to the high elevation and aridity, nights are usually relatively cool and rarely does the low remain above 70 °F (21 °C).[41] Dry weather generally prevails, but brief afternoon thunderstorms are common, especially in July and August when the city receives the majority of its annual rainfall, due to the North American Monsoon.[42]

The first autumn freeze and the last freeze in the spring, on average, occur on October 2 and May 6, respectively; the average window for measurable snowfall (≥0.1 in or 0.25 cm) is October 21 through April 25. Extreme temperatures range from 101 °F (38 °C) on June 26, 2012 and most recently on June 21, 2016, down to −27 °F (−33 °C) on February 1, 1951, and December 9, 1919.[43]

Climate data[edit]

Climate data for Colorado Springs, Colorado (Airport), 1991–2020 normals,[b] extremes 1894–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 73
(23)
77
(25)
81
(27)
87
(31)
94
(34)
101
(38)
100
(38)
99
(37)
98
(37)
87
(31)
78
(26)
77
(25)
101
(38)
Mean maximum °F (°C) 64.5
(18.1)
66.2
(19.0)
72.8
(22.7)
79.0
(26.1)
85.8
(29.9)
93.8
(34.3)
95.2
(35.1)
92.7
(33.7)
88.9
(31.6)
81.8
(27.7)
71.6
(22.0)
64.1
(17.8)
96.7
(35.9)
Average high °F (°C) 45.0
(7.2)
46.5
(8.1)
54.9
(12.7)
61.0
(16.1)
70.7
(21.5)
81.6
(27.6)
86.5
(30.3)
83.6
(28.7)
77.1
(25.1)
64.7
(18.2)
52.9
(11.6)
44.6
(7.0)
64.1
(17.8)
Daily mean °F (°C) 31.8
(−0.1)
33.4
(0.8)
41.1
(5.1)
47.5
(8.6)
57.5
(14.2)
67.2
(19.6)
72.4
(22.4)
70.1
(21.2)
63.0
(17.2)
50.7
(10.4)
39.5
(4.2)
31.7
(−0.2)
50.5
(10.3)
Average low °F (°C) 18.5
(−7.5)
20.2
(−6.6)
27.3
(−2.6)
34.0
(1.1)
43.5
(6.4)
52.8
(11.6)
58.2
(14.6)
56.6
(13.7)
48.9
(9.4)
36.6
(2.6)
26.0
(−3.3)
18.7
(−7.4)
36.8
(2.7)
Mean minimum °F (°C) −1.4
(−18.6)
1.4
(−17.0)
9.6
(−12.4)
19.3
(−7.1)
30.1
(−1.1)
42.5
(5.8)
50.9
(10.5)
48.5
(9.2)
35.6
(2.0)
19.6
(−6.9)
7.4
(−13.7)
−1.6
(−18.7)
−7.1
(−21.7)
Record low °F (°C) −26
(−32)
−27
(−33)
−16
(−27)
−3
(−19)
15
(−9)
27
(−3)
37
(3)
34
(1)
20
(−7)
−6
(−21)
−12
(−24)
−27
(−33)
−27
(−33)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.29
(7.4)
0.32
(8.1)
0.79
(20)
1.45
(37)
1.99
(51)
2.27
(58)
3.12
(79)
2.96
(75)
1.35
(34)
0.77
(20)
0.37
(9.4)
0.23
(5.8)
15.91
(404)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 4.9
(12)
4.6
(12)
5.7
(14)
5.5
(14)
0.6
(1.5)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.2
(0.51)
2.5
(6.4)
4.4
(11)
4.1
(10)
32.5
(83)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 3.6 4.6 6.7 8.2 10.3 9.8 12.1 12.4 6.6 4.8 4.5 3.7 87.3
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 3.9 4.4 4.9 3.6 0.6 0 0 0 0.3 1.7 3.7 4.0 27.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 217 224 279 300 310 330 341 310 270 248 210 217 3,256
Source 1: NOAA[41][44][45]
Source 2: Weather-US[46][47][48]

Cityscape[edit]

Panoramic View of Downtown Colorado Springs

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18804,226
189011,140163.6%
190021,08589.3%
191029,07837.9%
192030,1053.5%
193033,23710.4%
194036,78910.7%
195045,47223.6%
196070,19454.4%
1970135,51793.1%
1980215,10558.7%
1990281,14030.7%
2000360,89028.4%
2010416,42715.4%
2020478,96115.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
Map of racial distribution in Colorado Springs, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people:  White  Black  Asian  Hispanic  Other

As of the 2020 United States Census, the population of the City of Colorado Springs was 478,961 (40th most populous U.S. city), the population of the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area was 755,105 (79th most populous MSA), and the population of the Front Range Urban Corridor was 5,055,344.[7]

As of the April 2010 census,[49] 78.8% of the population of the city was White (non-Hispanic Whites were 70.7% of the population,[50] compared with 86.6% in 1970[51]), 16.1% Hispanic or Latino of any race (compared with 7.4% in 1970), 6.3% Black or African American, 3.0% Asian, 1.0% descended from indigenous peoples of the Americas, 0.3% descended from indigenous Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders, 5.5% of some other race, and 5.1% of two or more races. Mexican Americans made up 14.6% of the city's population, compared with 9.1% in 1990. The median age in the city was 35 years.[52][nb 1]

Economy[edit]

Colorado Springs's economy is driven primarily by the military, the high-tech industry, and tourism, in that order. The city is experiencing growth in the service sectors. Its unemployment rate as of October 2015 was 3.9%, a decrease from 4.8% in October 2014 and 7.3% in November 2013,[54] compared to 3.8% for the state[55] and 5.0% for the nation.[56]

Military[edit]

As of 2021, there are nearly 45,000 active-duty troops in Colorado Springs. There are more than 100,000 veterans and thousands of reservists.[23] The military and defense contractors supply more than 40% of the Pikes Peak region's economy.[23]

Colorado Springs is home to the Peterson Space Force Base, Schriever Space Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station, U.S. Space Command, and Space Operations Command— the largest contingent of space service military installations. They are responsible for intelligence gathering, space operations, and cyber missions.[57]

Peterson Space Force Base is responsible for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) headquarters,[27] Space Operations Command, and Space Deltas 2, 3, and 7.[57] Located at Peterson is the 302nd Airlift Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit, that transports passengers and cargo and fights wildfires.[57]

Schriever Space Force Base is responsible for Joint Task Force-Space Defense and Space Deltas 6, 8, and 9.[57] The NORAD and USNORTHCOM Alternate Command Center is located at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex.[27] Within the mountain complex, the Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station has been operated by Space Operations Command.[27] On January 13, 2021, the Air Force announced a new permanent home for Space Command, moving it from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Alabama in 2026, but the decision could be reversed by Congress.[23][58][c]

President Richard Nixon gives a commencement ceremony speech at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, June 4, 1969

Army divisions are trained and stationed at Fort Carson. The United States Air Force Academy was established after World War II, on land donated by the City of Colorado Springs.[23]

Defense industry[edit]

The defense industry forms a significant part of the Colorado Springs economy, with some of the city's largest employers being defense contractors.[62] Some defense corporations have left or downsized city campuses, but slight growth has been recorded. Significant defense corporations in the city include Northrop Grumman, Boeing, General Dynamics, L3Harris Technologies, SAIC, ITT, Lockheed Martin, and Bluestaq.[63][64][65][66] The Space Foundation is based in Colorado Springs.[67]

High-tech industry[edit]

A large percentage of Colorado Springs's economy is still based on manufacturing high-tech and complex electronic equipment. The high-tech sector in the Colorado Springs area has decreased its overall presence from 2000 to 2006 (from around 21,000 to around 8,000), with notable reductions in information technology and complex electronic equipment.[68] Current trends project the high-tech employment ratio will continue to decrease.[69][70][71][72][needs update]

High-tech corporations with connections to the city include: Verizon Business, a telecommunications firm, at its height had nearly 1300 employees in 2008.[73] Hewlett-Packard still has some sales, support, and SAN storage engineering center for the computer industry.[74][75][76] Storage Networking Industry Association is the home of the SNIA Technology Center.[77] Keysight Technologies, spun off in 2014 from Agilent,[78] which was itself spun off from HP in 1999 as an independent, publicly traded company,[79] has its oscilloscope research and development division based in Colorado Springs. Intel had 250 employees in 2009.[80] The Intel facility is now used for the centralized unemployment offices, social services, El Paso county offices, and a bitcoin mining facility.[81] Microchip Technology (formerly Atmel), is a chip fabrication organization.[82] The Apple Inc. facility was sold to Sanmina-SCI in 1996.[83]

Culture and contemporary life[edit]

Tourism[edit]

Pikes Peak, the easternmost "fourteener" in the United States

Almost immediately following the arrival of railroads beginning in 1871, the city's location at the base of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains made it a popular tourism destination. Tourism is the third largest employer in the Pikes Peak region, accounting for more than 16,000 jobs.[84] In 2018, 23 million day and overnight visitors came to the area, contributing $2.4 billion in revenue.[85]

Colorado Springs has more than 55 attractions and activities in the area,[86] including Garden of the Gods park, United States Air Force Academy, the ANA Money Museum, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, Old Colorado City, The National Museum of World War II Aviation, and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center.[87] In 2020, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum opened;[88] the Flying W Ranch Chuckwagon Dinner & Western Show reopened in 2020.[89] A new Pikes Peak Summit Complex opened at the 14,115-foot summit in 2021.[90] The Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway also reopened in 2021.[91]

The downtown Colorado Springs Visitor Information Center offers free area information to leisure and business travelers.[86] The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR), also downtown, supports and advocates for the arts throughout the Pikes Peak Region. It operates the PeakRadar website to communicate city events.[92]

Annual cultural events[edit]

The Saturday morning launch, overlooking Prospect Lake, in downtown Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs is home to the annual Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off, a hot air balloon festival that takes place over Labor Day weekend at the city's Memorial Park.[93]

Other annual events include: a comic book convention and science fiction convention called GalaxyFest in February,[94] a pride parade called PrideFest in July,[95] the Greek Festival, the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, and the Steers & Beers Whiskey and Beer Festival in August,[96][97][98] and the Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Festival in nearby Manitou Springs and Arts Month in October.[99][100]

The Colorado Springs Festival of Lights Parade is held the first Saturday in December.[101] The parade is held on Tejon Street in Downtown Colorado Springs.[102]

Breweries[edit]

In 2017, Colorado had the third-most craft breweries at 348.[103] Breweries and microbreweries have become popular in Colorado Springs, which hosts over 30 of them.[104][105]

Religious institutions[edit]

Although houses of worship of almost every major world religion are within the city, Colorado Springs has in particular attracted a large influx of Evangelical Christians and Christian organizations in recent years. At one time Colorado Springs was the national headquarters for 81 different religious organizations, earning the city the tongue-in-cheek nicknames "the Evangelical Vatican"[106] and "The Christian Mecca."

Religious groups with regional or international headquarters in Colorado Springs include:

Marijuana[edit]

Although Colorado voters approved Colorado Amendment 64, a constitutional amendment in 2012 legalizing retail sales of marijuana for recreational purposes, the Colorado Springs city council voted not to permit retail shops in the city, as was allowed in the amendment.[127] Medical marijuana outlets continue to operate in Colorado Springs.[128] In 2015, there were 91 medical marijuana clinics in the city, which reported sales of $59.6 million in 2014, up 11 percent from the previous year but without recreational marijuana shops.[129] On April 26, 2016, Colorado Springs city council decided to extend the current six-month moratorium to eighteen months with no new licenses to be granted until May 2017. A scholarly paper suggested the city will give up $25.4 million in tax revenue and fees if the city continues to thwart the industry from opening within the city limits.[130][131] As of March 1, 2018, there were 131 medical marijuana centers and no recreational cannabis stores.[132] As of 2019 Colorado Springs is still one of seven towns that have only allowed for medical marijuana.[133]

In popular culture[edit]

Colorado Springs has been the subject of or setting for many books, movies and television shows, and is a frequent backdrop for political thrillers and military-themed stories because of its many military installations and vital importance to the United States' continental defense. Notable television series using the city as a setting include Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Homicide Hunter and the Stargate series Stargate SG-1, as well as the films WarGames, The Prestige, and BlacKkKlansman.[134]

In a North Korean propaganda video released in April 2013, Colorado Springs was inexplicably singled out as one of four targets for a missile strike. The video failed to pinpoint Colorado Springs on the map, instead showing a spot somewhere in Louisiana.[135]

Sports[edit]

Olympic sports[edit]

United States Olympic Committee headquarters and training facility

Colorado Springs, dubbed Olympic City USA, is home to the United States Olympic Training Center and the headquarters of the United States Olympic Committee and the United States Anti-Doping Agency.[136]

Further, over 50 national sports organizations (non-Olympic) headquarter in Colorado Springs. These include the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Sports Incubator, a various non-Olympic Sports (such as USA Ultimate), and more.[137]

Colorado Springs and Denver hosted the 1962 World Ice Hockey Championships.[nb 2]

The city has a long association with the sport of figure skating, having hosted the U.S. Figure Skating Championships six times and the World Figure Skating Championships five times. It is home to the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame and the Broadmoor Skating Club, a notable training center for the sport. In recent years, the Broadmoor World Arena has hosted skating events such as Skate America and the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.[138]

Baseball[edit]

The Colorado Springs Snow Sox professional baseball team is based in Colorado Springs. The team is a member of the Pecos League, an independent baseball league which is not affiliated with Major or Minor League Baseball.[139][140]

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb[edit]

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as The Race to the Clouds, is an annual invitational automobile and motorcycle hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak, every year on the last Sunday of June.[141] The highway wasn't completely paved until 2011.[142]

Local professional teams[edit]

Name Sport Founded League Venue Ref
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC Soccer 2015 USL Championship Weidner Field [143]
Rocky Mountain Vibes Baseball 2019 Pioneer League UCHealth Park [144]

Local collegiate teams[edit]

The local colleges feature many sports teams. Notable among them are several nationally competitive NCAA Division I teams: United States Air Force Academy (Falcons) Football, Basketball and Hockey[145] and Colorado College (Tigers) Hockey, and Women's Soccer.[146]

Rodeo[edit]

Colorado Springs was the original headquarters of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) from its founding in 1992 until 2005, when the organization was moved to Pueblo.[147]

Parks, trails and open space[edit]

The city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services manage 136 neighborhood parks, eight community parks, seven regional parks, and five sports complexes, totaling 9,000 acres (3,600 ha). They also manage 500 acres (200 ha) of trails, of which 160 miles (260 km) are park trails and 105 miles (169 km) are urban. There are 5,000 acres (2,000 ha) of open space in 48 open-space areas.[148]

Parks[edit]

Ackerman Overlook near United States Air Force Academy off Interstate 25 in Colorado Springs is named for Jasper D. Ackerman (1896–1988), a banker and rancher.[149]
Pulpit Rock, in Pikeview (North Colorado Springs)

Garden of the Gods is on Colorado Springs's western edge. It is a National Natural Landmark, with 300 foot (91 m) red/orange sandstone rock formations often viewed against a backdrop of the snow-capped Pikes Peak. This park is free to the public and offers many recreational opportunities, such as hiking, rock climbing, cycling, horseback riding and tours.[150] It offers a variety of annual events, one of the most popular of which is the Starlight Spectacular, a recreational bike ride held every summer to benefit the Trails and Open Space Coalition of Colorado Springs.[151]

Colorado Springs has several major city parks, such as Palmer Park, America the Beautiful Park in downtown Colorado Springs, Memorial Park, which includes many sports fields, an indoor swimming pool and skating rink, a skateboard bowl and two half-pipes, and Monument Valley Park, which has walking and biking paths, an outdoor swimming pool and pickleball courts.[152] Monument Valley Park also has Tahama Spring, the original spring in Colorado Springs.[153][154] Austin Bluffs Park affords a place of recreation in eastern Colorado Springs. El Paso County Regional Parks include Bear Creek Regional Park, Bear Creek Dog Park, Fox Run Regional Park and Fountain Creek Regional Park and Nature Center.[155] Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa),[156][157] Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii),[158][159] narrowleaf yucca (Yucca angustissima, syn. Yucca glauca)[160] and prickly pear cactus (Opuntia macrorhiza).[161]

Trails[edit]

Three trails, the New Santa Fe Regional Trail, Pikes Peak Greenway and Fountain Creek Regional Trail, form a continuous path from Palmer Lake, through Colorado Springs, to Fountain, Colorado. The majority of the trail between Palmer Lake and Fountain is a soft surface breeze gravel trail. A major segment of the trail within the Colorado Springs city limits is paved. The trails, except Monument Valley Park trails, may be used for equestrian traffic. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails. Many of the trails are interconnected, having main spine trails, like the Pikes Peak Greenway, that lead to secondary trails.[162][163][164]

Government[edit]

On November 2, 2010, Colorado Springs voters adopted a council-strong mayor form of government. The City of Colorado Springs transitioned to the new system of government in 2011. Under the council-strong mayor system of government, the mayor is the chief executive and the city council is the legislative branch. The mayor is a full-time elected position and not a member of the council. The council has nine members, six of whom represent one of six equally populated districts each. The remaining three members are elected at-large.[165]

Colorado Springs City Hall was built from 1902 to 1904 on land donated by W. S. Stratton.[166]

City Council[edit]

The Colorado Springs City Council consists of nine elected officials, six of whom represent districts and three of whom represent the city at-large.[167]

  • District 1 – Dave Donelson
  • District 2 – Randy HelmsCouncil President Pro-Tem
  • District 3 – Stephannie Fortune
  • District 4 – Yolanda Avila
  • District 5 – Nancy Henjum
  • District 6 – Mike O'Malley
  • At-Large – Bill Murray
  • At-Large – Tom StrandCouncil President
  • At-Large – Wayne Williams

Politics[edit]

In 2017 Caleb Hannan wrote in Politico that Colorado Springs was "staunchly Republican", "a right-wing counterweight to liberal Boulder", and that a study ranked it "the fourth most conservative city in America".[168] In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump's margin of victory in El Paso County was 22 points. That year Hannan wrote that downtown Colorado Springs had a different political vibe from the overall area's and that there were "superficial signs of changing demographics".[168] In 2020 the shift toward the political center continued as the incumbent Republican, Donald Trump, edged out Democrat Joe Biden by only 10.8% in El Paso County [169]

Education[edit]

Primary and secondary education[edit]

In addition the state of Colorado runs the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, a residential school for people up to age 21 and established in 1874, in the city.[180]

Higher education[edit]

Bachelors and graduate degree programs are offered at these colleges and universities in the city:

Doolittle Hall on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy

The United States Air Force Academy is a military school for officer candidates.[185]

IntelliTec College is a technical training school. Pikes Peak Community College offers a two-year degree program.[186][187]

Transportation[edit]

Major highways and roads[edit]

Interstate highways[edit]

Colorado Springs is primarily served by one interstate highway. I-25 runs north and south through Colorado, and traverses the city for nearly 18 miles (29 km), entering the city south of Circle Drive and exiting north of North Gate Boulevard. In El Paso County it is known as Ronald Reagan Highway.[nb 3]

State and U.S. highways[edit]

A number of state and U.S. highways serve the city. State Highway 21 is a major east side semi-expressway from Black Forest to Fountain, known locally and co-signed as Powers Boulevard. State Highway 83 runs north–south from central Denver to northern Colorado Springs. State Highway 94 runs east–west from western Cheyenne County to eastern Colorado Springs where it terminates at US 24. US 24 is a major route through the city and county, providing access to Woodland Park via Ute Pass to the west and downtown, Nob Hill and numerous suburbs to the east. It is co-signed with Platte Ave after SH 21 and originally carried local traffic through town. The Martin Luther King Jr Bypass runs from I-25 near Circle Drive along Fountain Blvd to SH 21, then east again. State Highway 115 begins in Cañon City, traveling north along the western edge of Fort Carson; when it reaches the city limits it merges with Nevada Avenue, a signed Business Route of US 85. US 85 and SH 115 are concurrent between Lake Avenue and I-25. US 85 enters the city at Fountain and was signed at Venetucci Blvd, Lake Avenue, and Nevada Avenue[nb 4] at various points in history; however most of US 85 is concurrent with I-25 and is not signed.

County and city roads[edit]

In November 2015, voters in Colorado Springs overwhelmingly passed ballot measure 2C, dedicating funds from a temporary sales tax increase to much needed road and infrastructure improvements over five years. This temporary increase is estimated to bring in approximately $50 million annually, which will be used solely to improve roads and infrastructure. The ballot measure passed by a margin of approximately 65–35%.[192]

In 2004, the voters of Colorado Springs and El Paso County established the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority.[193]

In early 2010, the city of Colorado Springs approved an expansion of the northernmost part of Powers Boulevard in order to create an Interstate 25 bypass commonly referred to as the Copper Ridge Expansion.[194][nb 5]

Airport[edit]

Colorado Springs Airport (COS; ICAO: KCOS) has been in operation since 1925. It is the second-largest commercial airport in the state, after Denver International Airport (DEN; ICAO: KDEN). It covers 7,200 acres (2,900 ha) of land at an elevation of approximately 6,200 feet (1,900 m). COS is considered to be a joint-use civilian and military airport, as Peterson Space Force Base is a tenant of the airport.[196] It has three paved runways: 17L/35R is 13,501 by 150 feet (4,115 by 46 m), the runway 17R/35L is 11,022 by 150 feet (3,360 by 46 m) and the runway 13/31 is 8,270 by 150 feet (2,521 by 46 m).[197] The airport handled 817,000 passengers from October 2020–October 2021,[198] and is served by American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, and United.[199]

Bicycling[edit]

A 20-kilometer upright bike race during the inaugural Warrior Games at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 13, 2010. The Warrior Games is a Paralympics-style competition where the services compete against each other in events such as sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, archery, shooting and swimming.

In April 2018, the Colorado Springs City Council approved a Bike Master Plan.[200] The vision of the city's Bike Master Plan is "a healthy and vibrant Colorado Springs where bicycling is one of many transportation options for a large portion of the population, and where a well-connected and well-maintained network of urban trails, single-track, and on-street infrastructure offers a bicycling experience for present and future generations that is safe, convenient, and fun for getting around, getting in shape, or getting away." Bike lanes in Colorado Springs have not been deployed without controversy. According to The Gazette, their readers "have mixed feelings for new bike lanes."[201] In December 2016, the City removed a bike lane along Research Parkway due to overwhelming opposition; an online survey found that 80.5% of respondents opposed the bike lane.[202] The Gazette has stated that since the Bike Master Plan was adopted by City Council, "no issue has elicited more argument in The Gazette pages," and due to this immense public interest, on February 25, 2019, The Gazette hosted a town hall meeting called "Battle of the Bike Lanes."[203][204]

Walkability[edit]

A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Colorado Springs 34th most walkable of fifty largest U.S. cities.[205]

A Metro bus arrives at a stop on Colorado Avenue.

Mountain Metropolitan Transit[edit]

Mountain Metropolitan Transit (MMT) is testing Battery Electric Buses (BEB), and if the buses perform well, the agency plans to acquire its first three BEBs in 2021 using funds from the Volkswagen emissions scandal and resulting lawsuit and settlement.[206] On April 22, 2022, Mountain Metro unveiled four new all-electric Proterra ZX5 buses to be added to their fleet.[207] The new buses join their current fleet of 67 clean diesel buses. They are funded by the Colorado Department of Transportation Division of Transit and Rail Settlement Transit Bus Replacement Program, Volkswagen Diesel Emission Settlement trust, and Federal transit Administration 5339(b) Buses and Bus Facilities Program grant.[208] The Proterra ZX5 buses run 220 to 330 miles on a single charge, and cost $1.2 million per bus.[209]

Mountain Metro Mobility[edit]

Mountain Metro Mobility is an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) federally mandated complementary ADA paratransit service, which provides demand-response service for individuals with mobility needs that prevent them from using the fixed-route bus system.[210][211]

Mountain Metro Rides[edit]

Mountain Metro Rides offers alternative transportation options to residents of the Pikes Peak Region. The program is designed to reduce congestion and pollution by encouraging people to commute by carpool, vanpool, bicycling or walking.[212]

Bustang[edit]

Bustang provides intercity transportation to Colorado Springs. It is part of the South and Outrider lines, which connect to Denver and to Lamar. There is an additional line that connects Colorado Springs directly to the Denver Tech Center.[213]

Notable people[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

Bishkek mayor Arstanbek Nogoev presents a gift for Colorado Springs mayor Lionel Rivera to a US airman at Manas Air Base, in a ceremony aimed at reviving ties between the two sister cities.[214]

Colorado Springs' sister cities are:[215]

Colorado Springs's sister city organization began when it became partners with Fujiyoshida. The torii gate erected to commemorate the relationship stands at the corner of Bijou Street and Nevada Avenue, and is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. The torii gate, crisscrossed bridge and shrine, in the median between Platte and Bijou Streets downtown, were a gift to Colorado Springs, erected in 1966 by the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs to celebrate the friendship between the two communities. A plaque near the torii gate states that "the purpose of the sister city relationship is to promote understanding between the people of our two countries and cities". The Fujiyoshida Student exchange program has become an annual event.[216]

In 2006 and 2010, the Bankstown TAP (Talent Advancement Program) performed with the Youth Symphony and the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale as part of the annual "In Harmony" program.[216] A notable similarity between Colorado Springs and its sister cities is their geographic positions: three of the seven cities are near the foot of a major mountain or mountain range, as is Colorado Springs.[217]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As of the census[53] of 2000 (limited only to the city limits and not including the very diverse Fort Carson area which many view as being a part of the Colorado Springs metropolitan area), there were 360,890 people, 141,516 households, and 93,117 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,942.9 people per square mile (750.2/km2). There were 148,690 housing units at an average density of 800.5 per square mile (309.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.7% White, 6.6% African American, 0.9% Native American, 2.8% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 5.0% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. 12.0% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 141,516 households, out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.06. In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.5% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males. (Note: City statistics do not include the demographic influence of five local military bases). The median income for a household in the city was $45,081, and the median income for a family was $53,478. Males had a median income of $36,786 versus $26,427 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,496. About 6.1% of families and 8.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.8% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
  2. ^ This nullifies a popular Canadian claim that the 2008 IIHF World Championships in Quebec City and Halifax marked the first time this event was organized on the American continent. However, the 2008 event was the first World Championship on the American continent in which NHL players were eligible to compete.
  3. ^ In order to combat congestion the Colorado Department of Transportation widened the Interstate 25 corridor throughout the city from four lanes (two in each direction) to six lanes in a program called COSMIX. Ultimately, the plan is to make the interstate eight lanes through the city when funding becomes available.[188] Work has been completed to expand Interstate 25 from 4 to 6 lanes between Woodmen Road (exit 149, the northern terminus for the COSMIX project) and Monument (exit 161).[189][190]
  4. ^ In addition, there were plans to develop a "Front Range Toll Road", a privately owned turnpike, which would begin south of Pueblo and end around Fort Collins. This toll road would allow rail and truck traffic to avoid the more highly traveled parts of I-25 along the Front Range. Initially, the project had support but has since been highly contested because of the need to condemn the land of many private citizens, through the use of eminent domain, to make room for the corridor.[191]
  5. ^ The project developers also have hopes of increasing business at the future I-25 Powers Boulevard connection by building a 2.8 million cu ft (79 thousand m3) shopping mall on the East side of the Powers exit.[194] Developers hope to have the project finished by 2013, but have a deadline of 2018.[195]
  1. ^ The mayor of Colorado Springs is officially nonpartisan; party affiliation is for informational purposes only.
  2. ^ Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest temperature readings at any point during the year or given month) calculated based on data at said location from 1991 to 2020.
  3. ^ Political leaders in Colorado plan to ask President Biden's administration to review the merits of the decision.[59] Huntsville also has to pass an environmental review before the decision is final.[60] Air Force documents show Alabama ranked higher than Colorado in 11 of 21 comparisons used by the government in seeking the best site for the new U.S. Space Command's permanent headquarters. In the Space Command headquarters comparison, Alabama ranks in top third in nine of the 21 categories. Colorado ranks in the top third in five categories. Alabama ranks in bottom third in three of the 21 categories and Colorado ranks in bottom third in 10 of the 21 categories.[61]

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