Mayor Steve Bach challenged reporters during a press conference last week to back up claims that he wants to put a baseball stadium on the site of the Martin Drake Power Plant downtown.
Actually, he called it an urban legend.
“I challenge those in the print media who continue to spread the urban legend on those matters to come forth with facts to back up those allegations,” he said.
Challenge accepted, Mr. Mayor.
While Bach may be considering multiple scenarios for downtown, he’s the one who raised the idea of a Sky Sox baseball stadium.
In January, Bach met with Sky Sox co-owner and friend Doug Elmore. During their talk, Bach said he broached the idea of moving the minor league baseball team downtown.
“I did surface the idea,” Bach said in an interview in May. “It would be wonderful to have the Sky Sox downtown.”
At the time, Bach said he and Elmore hadn’t followed up with any “substantive conversations” and that other issues needed to be addressed first, including a plan to make downtown safer.
“I hope we can have an I-25 and Cimarron reconstruction plan on the books at least, and I think we have to resolve Martin Drake Power Plant,” he said.
In a follow-up interview with Wayne Laugesen, The Gazette’s editorial page editor, Bach was even more clear.
The editorial asked: Where does Bach want to put the Sky Sox stadium?
“Right on top of the Martin Drake Power Plant,” Bach was quoted as saying, though Bach has said since then that he followed up with a joke that the reason he wanted to put the stadium on the site was so the seats would be warm.
During last week’s press conference, Bach issued another challenge to reporters: “Provide the facts behind the urban legend there that I’ve met in secret with the Sierra Club and that I’m interested in the Martin Drake facility in any way.”
The Gazette has never reported that Bach “met in secret with the Sierra Club,” so that point — for us, anyway — is moot.
But Bach has in fact shown a lot of interest in the Drake power plant.
Just a few examples:
– “I’m not talking about anything other than I believe we do not need Martin Drake Power Plant capacity. When we hit peak load in this city, we barely get into needing Martin Drake from what I’m told by people who are experts in that business outside of Colorado Springs Utilities. Now that needs to be fact checked,” he said.
– The Mayor has not attended Utilities Board meetings because he has not wished to interfere in Council operations. However, enough questions have arisen regarding Colorado Springs Utilities over the last few months (Martin Drake Power Plant, Neumann Systems contract, governance, and operations) that the Mayor felt it necessary and important to weigh in.
– The Mayor’s Downtown Vision anticipates a transformative, dynamic, and vibrant new era of development for the areas immediately south of Downtown. This activity might include museums, sports venues, retail and commercial development, and housing. This opportunity for our community is exciting, and has the potential to not only transform our Downtown but to diversify our entire economy, create hundreds of new jobs, and expand and diversify our tax base. This vision includes potential economic development on the current site of the Martin Drake Power Plant.