As we near the end of the year, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for our community and celebrate the resiliency of Colorado Springs. First, I recognize that we have families in our community who are grieving over the loss or health challenges of loved ones, and we recognize the hardships and heroics of health care workers around the city. We also recognize the many people and organizations who are stepping up to help other community members during these trying times brought on by the global pandemic.
I know many of us are feeling a sense of relief that 2020 is almost over and that we are seeing the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, which hopefully will allow us to return to normalcy by mid-2021. We are not out of the woods yet, so please continue to follow the public health protocols and be part of the solution in lowering our numbers locally and keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed. If we can hunker down for a few more months, I believe we will be in a very different situation by summer.
Despite the hardships and additional challenges we encountered, our dedicated City employees still moved our city forward in some big ways and didn’t skip a beat in providing services to our residents. I would like to thank our residents who stepped up as well. I remain very grateful for the passage of Ballot Measure 2B, which allowed us to prevent a damaging ratchet down of our City budget based on temporary pandemic impacts. Sales tax has also rebounded in an astonishing way, which, as you know, is the primary funding mechanism for our City government and essential services. And new projects and development have brightened the economic outlook as we recover for COVID-19.
As we move into 2021, we look forward to celebrating our City’s sesquicentennial, or 150th birthday. It will be an opportunity to take pride in our great city and reflect on the vision of our founder, General William Jackson Palmer. There will be celebrations and events throughout the latter half of the year, assuming restrictions loosen, and I hope you will all choose to get involved in this historic milestone. As we look at the progress of the last 150 years, we are also challenged to consider our vision for the future. What history are we creating and what legacy will we leave as citizens of Colorado Springs?
Some major legacy projects will be completed in 2021. The Pikes Peak Summit Complex will open in in the spring, along with The Broadmoor’s Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Two more City for Champions for projects will open, the Switchbacks FC new stadium, Weidner Field, and Colorado College’s Robson Arena. Southwest downtown will continue its renaissance and the Airport’s Peak Innovation Park will see exciting developments with the opening of Amazon’s 800,000 square foot distribution center, $100 million expansion by the Aerospace Corporation and a $20 million air tanker base for the U.S. Forest Service.
These are just some of the big things happening in Colorado Springs, but I know there is so much more. I want to thank our employees, our partner organizations and everyone who stepped up to support our community this year for the role you play in making Colorado Springs the incredible city it is.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and health and happiness for the year ahead.
Mayor John Suthers