Colorado Springs Mayor Yemi Mobolade is looking toward 2024 with a familiar list of priorities: public safety, economic vitality, infrastructure, housing attainability and community activation.
Mobolade has championed a similar list of topics since taking office in 2023 and in his first State of the City address this fall. He also campaigned heavily on the themes leading up to his election in May.
"All five items have been shaped by the community," he said at a media briefing Tuesday. "These were items that we received from the community through the listening tours in all six (council) districts … These were items that were shaped by engaging over 300 firefighters and police officers as well as other team members."
In his State of the City address in September, Mobolade said more than 1,000 people attended the district-specific listening tours, despite public criticism surrounding accessibility and transparency. At the time, Mobolade said the tour would help inform the city's new strategic plan, set to be finalized in June.
Perhaps Mobolade's highest profile project in his six months in office is measure 2A, which failed at the ballot box in November. 2A sought to retain funds that would have otherwise been returned to residents under the city's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, or TABOR, cap, and put the money toward a new police training facility. 53 percent of voters rejected the measure.
"If I had a magic wand, we would have this done already… the need is today," he said, referring to the new space.
Mobolade said before the election that he would move forward with the space even if the measure failed.
In the new year, Mobolade said the police department will continue its plan to hold four training academies throughout the year, but "we still have a challenge with the space and we still have to look to local partners to figure out how we can share space with them."
Mobolade also expects to soon receive a report aimed at helping determine a location for the academy and what the needs are in the space.
Among other highlighted topics:
- Economic Vitality: Mobolade championed a number of economic development deals bringing new higher-paying jobs to the community. Looking forward, he said he wants to "lean into enhancing the Olympic City USA brand to elevate Colorado Springs and our quality of life and economic development efforts."
- Homelessness: The annual Point in Time survey showed a decrease in the overall number of people experiencing homelessness.
- Housing Attainability: Mobolade, who has said in the past that he wants to look into 3D printing solutions, wants to seek out "housing innovative solutions," as well as work with regional partners to improve affordability.
- Infrastructure: "2023 proved that investing in our stormwater was critical," Mobolade said, referring to a rainy spring and summer. He also highlighted continued progress with repaving roads allowed by ballot measure 2C in 2015.
- Community Activation: At his State of the City address in September, Mobolade talked about community block parties, as well as improving mental health resources. For this upcoming year, Mobolade said he wants to see the city "encourage more volunteerism within our community and also more collaboration within the community."
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