Editor’s Note: The following guest column, authored by several Cripple Creek residents who serve on the city council, is in response to a previous editorial by Steve and Karen Zoellner. The earlier editorial questioned the city’s stand on special events and lack of support for certain former festivals, such as the Salute to American Veterans Rally.
Another View of ‘What’s Happening In Cripple Creek’
Print and social media have been abuzz the last few weeks with the meme of ‘What’s Happening in Cripple Creek?’.
We’re here to tell you!
A lot! Below is an overview of the many changes occurring in Cripple Creek.
Casinos are investing hundreds of millions of dollars for future growth and local economic development. The expansion of hotel rooms offers to bring conventions, conferences, receptions, and visitors for extended stays rather than just over night trips as offered in the past. This will translate into dining, shopping, and gaming opportunities with increased sales tax and lodging tax revenue for the city.
The Cripple Creek/Victor RE-1 School District made a dramatic change in educational direction to give both students and adults an opportunity to increase their employable-skill levels. The school board, administration, and staff aggressively implemented a Career Technical Education track that includes building trades, mechanics, fire science, culinary arts, agriculture, and Certified Nurse Assistance training. The former Kids Rock University building has transformed into an adult education center. A new “mini-factory” building will be erected this year to house the construction trades component. Several 2022 graduates are already employed using their newly acquired educational credentials.
The Community of Caring Foundation recently opened their Aspen Mine Center West facility for expanded and focused client services. They totally remodeled a formerly vacant casino into offices, conference room, and training space to meet the growing care needs in the community, particularly the expanding senior population. The City of Cripple Creek administratively supported the project for the Foundation and worked with the state’s Department of Local Affairs to gain federal grant funding. A grand opening is expected to occur this summer.
The Victor-Cripple Creek American Legion Post 171 finished their interior remodel and are now assembling the Wall of Heroes with donated military memorabilia. The recent highlight is expansive 21’ x 10’ mural being created by local artist Joe Harris which depicts significant iconic moments in US military history extending from WW I to present day. The mural combined with a treasure of memorabilia will be a showcase for tourists during future events.
The Gold Camp Association is structured to plan, organize, coordinate, market, and conduct multiple family-friendly events in the Cripple Creek and Victor communities. This growing organization of more than 40 non-profits, businesses, individuals, and government elements is working together as GCA members and supporting associates. All are welcome and encouraged to join their efforts! Their events are being planned with no city financial subsidies other than trash, toilets, and traffic control contributions. Other promoters also have the same opportunity to hold events. Next up—the Fourth of July and Victor Gold Rush Days celebrations.
Real Estate investors are planning and building new housing to include homes, apartments, and condominiums. This offers to turn vacant lots and abandoned houses into property-tax creating entities and provide resident and employee housing so desperately needed.
The City of Cripple Creek managed operations and provided services during the COVID pandemic when device fee revenues dropped and has not returned to pre-COVID levels. This resulted in the lowest budget in 25 years during the pandemic. In the meantime, they supported real estate development by waiving tap fees and approving selected project variances. City personnel participated in both the Child Care Task Force and Housing Task Force to work with community partners to seek solutions to both of these long-term needs not previously addressed. Both areas are making hopeful progress toward solutions. The City recently published an updated map of points of interest, businesses, and other attractions in both Cripple Creek and Victor. The City also produced and distributed the 2022 calendar of events with a full menu of activities in the communities to stimulate tourism. City personnel are now addressing future growth issues related to both the water supply and sewage disposal requirements.
So, what’s happening in Cripple Creek? A lot! Thanks to the hardworking non-profits, businesses, individuals, and government elements working together for the future of the community.
(The above individuals are signing this letter in their individual capacities and not as members of the City Council of the City of Cripple Creek. The information and opinions in this letter are those of the above individuals and do not represent information approved by or opinions held by the City Council.)