Mayor Steve Bach said Wednesday he will not support a proposed 105-mile cycling event called Tour of Colorado Springs this year, raising doubts about whether or not the event can get off the ground without the mayor’s support.
“My concern in the present instance is I don’t see a plan. I still haven’t seen a plan,” Bach said during the Mayor’s Counsel Meeting.
Organizers said the proposed June 30 event could generate between $2 million and $3 million for the local economy and draw up to 2,000 cyclists to a course that would make a 105-mile course around Colorado Springs.
“It’s a very interesting idea,” Bach said. “I’m just concerned about we don’t have enough time to make sure it’s well organized as it should be, that we’ll have reasonable liability risk. We can never have zero liability risk, but reasonable. We just feel we need to take a more strategic approach to this.”
Steve Cox, the mayor’s chief of economic vitality and innovation, said he met with the promoters Wednesday morning.
“What I told them this morning is we’re not going to support that from a (city) staff perspective,” he said.
Dave Csintyan, interim CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp., said he didn’t know “where the sticking points are” but that the chamber aligned with the event because it was an economic vitality engine for the region.
“I also respect the fact that when you’re asking the public sector to come alongside of you, all the t’s have to be crossed and the i’s dotted, so that remains to be seen where the issues are,” said Csintyan, who was at the meeting.
“And I didn’t hear in there that council was going to align with the mayor. They may still pursue it,” he added.
Csintyan said he didn’t know whether the event could go out without the mayor’s support.
“I haven’t closed the door,” he said.
David Whitaker, of Spectrum Marketing, which is organizing the proposed event, could not immediately be reached for comment.
When organizers pitched their idea during a council meeting last week, Bach indicated he would support the event. Organizers were asking the city to provide as much as $89,000 in police, fire and traffic control services.
“I kind of set you up inadvertently at the last meeting because I served up the subject and then didn’t say, ‘By the way, I’m not supporting it,’” Bach told council members.
“Now I’m not supporting it today.”
Cindy Aubrey, the mayor’s Chief Communications Officer, said on Facebook: “What the Mayor is not in support of is spending taxpayer dollars on this event. He said he did not want City funds covering the costs.”
During the meeting, Bach said the city needs to look at private partnerships and that the cycling event may be better suited for 2013.
“You talked about raising money, Tim, thank you very much,” Bach said, referring to Councilman Tim Leigh, an avid cyclist.
“I’d feel a whole lot better about something like this … if we had some financial partners in the mix,” he said.