The Colorado Springs City Auditorium was once a grand community space, hosting everything from political rallies to the circus. But the nearly 100-year-old building needs some work.
KRCC's Abigail Beckman spoke with Linda Weise, leader of the Community Cultural Collective (CCC), a non-profit group that has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the city to determine the viability of restoring and managing the space.
Weise on why this project needs to happen now:
We're looking at a 100-year-old building with 98 years of deferred maintenance. It was ultimately built by the citizens for the citizens, but, you know, we all know that it's underutilized and we have opportunities with funding right now on a national, state and local level that we might never see again in our lifetime.
A lot of it is the American relief dollars and in a project like this, in the location and the census track that it exists in, it checks so many boxes; community revitalization; access for underserved communities; it sits in historic district; it's also in a cultural district. We're just going to continue to go down that path of pursuing those funds and put all those monies in place to make this vision come to life.
Weise on what the $53 million renovation will fund:
When you talk about deferred maintenance, it's ADA compliance, life safety, all of the mechanical ... We'll go from about 30,000 square feet to 90,000 plus of incredibly vibrant usable space.
Details on changes included in the plan:
- A multiuse rehabilitation of the building exterior and a redesign of the interior of the facility
- An addition built on the south side
- Two new floor levels on the inside to replace the current arena seating
- A partial basement including an orchestra pit, a versatile and multi-faceted event/theater venue, and commercial food and beverage partners
- The ground floor will host retail and community partners
- The main performance venue will face the preserved proscenium arch and seat about 600 with a flat floor option for up to 730 people
Weise responding to criticism that the city should fund the project:
We can sit here on the sideline and we can speculate what we would do if we were the city and having been in this community now for 30 plus years, we've never had a more extraordinary leadership in place. And perhaps [the city should be paying for it], but the reality is our city is growing so fast. And is the city in the business of marketing and managing basically a performance and rehearsal space? I would argue probably not. Should they be paying for it? They're definitely contributing. They've designated $2.5 million for this project.
Weise on where the funding will come from:
We continue down this path to create this, what we call affectionately 'stack.' So, you have your stack of capital gifts from individual donors, corporate new market tax credits, historic preservation, tax credits, state historic grants, regular grants, as well as those American rescue dollars. And we've got to demonstrate that we have those funds in motion. And I have no doubt that we will.
Responses edited for time and clarity.
More details on the project:
Timeline for the project:
Attend the upcoming public meeting on the City Auditorium:
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. City Auditorium, 221 East Kiowa Street.
The meeting is free and open to the public.
- Lot at the south side of the City Auditorium.
- On-street open parking and on-street meters
- Nearest City Parking Garages: 127 E. Kiowa St. & Nevada Ave., & 130 S. Nevada Ave. & Colorado Ave.
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