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Colorado Springs organizers announce ‘significant progress’ made in $60 million plan to renovate City Auditorium

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- It's been eight months since a new nonprofit group proposed turning the historic and underused City Auditorium building into a major hub for arts, culture, music and education.

KRDO

The Community Cultural Collective has raised $5 million in donations so far, with nearly $3 million more pledged by the city and El Paso County, and applications filed for state and federal money available from pandemic recovery funding.

KRDO

Plans call for tripling the auditorium's usable space and renovating it to allow cultural groups to relocate offices there or rent space for projects, performances and other events.

Community Cultural Collective

Organizers said that the chances of obtaining state and federal funds is promising, and that they have a goal of raising the rest of the $60 million by early next year.

KRDO

"What we hear is nothing like this exists yet in our state," said Linda Weise, the collective's president and CEO. "So let's get it done, let's do it to the best of our ability, and make it another reason why people want to come to Colorado -- or better yet, Colorado Springs."

KRDO

A design firm and construction company have already agreed to work on the project, pending remaining donations and City Council approval.

Community Cultural Collective

Organizers said that if approved, the city would transfer ownership of the auditorium to the CCC, but the city would reserve the right to retain ownership under certain conditions.

Community Cultural Collective

The auditorium opened in 1923 and has been largely closed since the pandemic began, used only as a COVID recovery center for the homeless.

Community Cultural Collective

In the past, the grand old building hosted roller derbies, shows and other special events, and was the site of an annual Thanksgiving dinner for the needy.

KRDO

The CCC said that the the murals painted inside the front lobby in 1934, the Wurlitzer pipe organ and the Lon Chaney theater will remain at the auditorium or be moved to other interior locations.

KRDO

A committee is assessing the auditorium to determine which items may have historical significance and must remain.

KRDO

Many people aren't aware that a shooting gallery used to be in the auditorium's basement.

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

Comments

21 Comments

  1. If the city auditorium wasn’t historical it would of been demolished years ago. It is a neat building but between the asbestos and other hazardous material it would be cheaper to demolish and rebuild.

    1. I’ve seen several cases where buildings in this situation were “sold” for $1 and the new owners agreed to put the money into the renovations.

      I’m not aware of asbestos being one of its issues?

      1. All buildings of that era used asbestos for insulation, mainly on pipes and ducts and in other interior spaces. Unless it has already been removed, it probebly has it all over the place.

      2. yes it needs tons of abatement for asbestos. And understand after all this federal and city money is put into they PLAN TO GIVE IT TO THE OLD BAG CLUB FOR NOTHING. I say give it to them as is or tear it down.

  2. The city will transfer ownership to the Non profit (aka local developers). But not until some of your tax dollars are used to improve it. Another back door deal by the City. They never cease – but most of the citizens are too blind to see!

  3. If I’m not mistaken, that shooting range in the basement used to be used by the local law enforcement agencies as part of their ongoing firearm proficiency testing.

  4. The small circle street I live on needs all new curb, gutter, sidewalks & repaving.
    Not sure of the cost, but probably in excess of 250K.
    Now the city is throwing 3 million into a money pit ?
    Put it up for sale & let the new owner pay for whatever they want to do with it.

    1. the old ladies club fo the very rich and snobby has raised 3 mil from their rich friends towards renovation. THat is a drop in the bucket towards the final cost. In return- THEY CITY IS EXPECTED TO GIVE THIS AWAY TO THE Old ladies’ club.

      1. I’ve seen this happen again and again, projects sold as serving the community that are then overtaken by the rich, who fund themselves. I worked for a land trust years ago, it started by supporting small farmers with tax breaks and ended up giving lottery money to landowners of huge ranches — the poorest Americans handing money over to the richest. There are dozens of great art organizations (dance and music businesses, small theater companies, etc.) in the Springs run by people who don’t know how to schmooze the councils and boards to get free money. I saw one exceptional theater shut down in the last few years, it would have taken a few thousands dollars to keep the rent paid. If the city really wants to serve the art community, set up your multi-million dollar fund to subsidize the whole community. Or, you know, fix the potholes.

  5. This station quotes $60 Million, while another states $53 Million:wonder why the $7 Million discrepancy?

    1. I don’t know, but I’m seeing $3 was raised already and the building is worth $4 on paper, the city will count giving the building away as donating.

    1. My reading is that it is removed. They are gutting the place, it’s heartbreaking, using taxpayer money to destroy history.

    2. It is still there, just not in operation. They are just trying to figure out what to do with it.

  6. Of course, it may be I’m just being triggered by the Community Cultural Collective name, which sounds like it’s trying to sound both Maoist and Stalinist.

  7. How about taking that money, and moving the Springs Mission and the Marian House to Mayor Suthers’s neighborhood, so he can wake up to the homeless problem in Colorado Springs?

  8. Are any of the funds from the ‘pandemic’ money? Just wondering as this is under the Covid banner.

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