Cripple Creek to Wager Gamble on Town Unity – Rick Langenberg

Five hand holding each other
Five hand holding each other
Five hand holding each other

Don’t hold your breath, but the goal of unifying various factions in Cripple Creek may hit the political forefront again.

Whether the newest city gamble will result in a royal flush strike or a losing combination, or something in-between, is still uncertain.

Despite the obstacles associated with this bid, Cripple Creek Marketing and Special Events Director Steve Kitzman plans to spearhead a possible town hall meeting early next year.

This is part of a new marketing plan, aimed at promoting Cripple Creek’s brand as the premiere gaming and historic mining town in Colorado. The campaign is slightly modeled after the successes that have occurred in Deadwood, South Dakota, the first historic town that introduced limited stakes gaming. Besides building more community unity, KItzman wants to kick off at least four new major events and festivals next year and explore ways to develop more attractions.

“The possibilities are endless,” said Kitzman, who recently unveiled one of the more aggressive marketing plans for Cripple Creek in the last eight years, under the theme of “Truer, Grittier and Wilder.”

“We want to get the town together. Right now, we have 50 different parts going their own way,” said Kitzman. Earlier this spring, his department did a number of surveys in an effort to gauge the opinions of gaming and non-gaming operators and residents.

The marketing director believes that if the town works together more, Cripple Creek and its local businesses and casinos will benefit. Plus, he believes its compelling story as a key gambling and historic mining tourist destination will become known more. “We have been operating under the radar for too long,” said Kitzman.

The town hall get-together will probably occur in early 2016, according to Kitzman. Similar attempts have been tried in the past, with limited success. But the marketing director believes the timing is ideal for another major attempt at establishing more community unity. “We want to keep the momentum going.”

In other Cripple Creek news, the town may soon put the final touches on its $12.9 million spending budget for 2016. This represents a substantial hike from the $10.6 million fiscal blueprint for the current year and the $10.3 million that the town planned to originally proposed to allocate for next year. This increase is mostly driven by grant-generated infrastructure projects along Teller One and related sidewalk and trail enhancements. These projects are mostly being funded by the state Department of Transportation and by the state Division of Local Affairs.

The budget will get finalized in early December.