In a kick-off event Wednesday, Colorado Springs community leaders including Mayor John Suthers and City Council President Richard Skorman announced preparations for the city's 150th birthday. In the lead-up to a large-scale celebration in July of 2021, the city is encouraging businesses and community groups to plan for commemoratives and help organize events.
Matt Mayberry with the Pioneers Museum announced plans for the three upcoming exhibits leading up to the sesquicentennial. The first, opening Sept. 14, will focus on city founder General William Jackson Palmer and feature newly unearthed archeological material.
Mayor John Suthers said in addition to being an opportunity for the city to celebrate the vision of its founder and other historic figures, the sesquicentennial represents a chance to think about the years to come.
"It's an opportunity for introspection, as we look at the progress of the last century and a half and our challenge to consider our vision for the future."
Suthers and City Council President Richard Skorman are backing a proposed ballot question aimed at allocating $7 million of TABOR excess revenue toward the maintenance of historic parks. Skorman is also proposing a challenge to plant 18,071 trees in honor of the first stake in the plotting of Colorado Springs in 1871. He says the initiatives are in line with Palmer's original vision.
"He not only gave us 2,000 acres of parks, but he planted trees everywhere, that we're enjoying today. And we should continue his legacy and create a future for kids and grandkids [like] he did for us."
Dan Stuart of the AdAmAn Club also attended the event, and announced that the group's annual New Year's Eve Pikes Peak Climb in 2020 will be dedicated to the sesquicentennial. The group plans to launch 150 fireworks at 9 p.m. and another 150 at midnight.
The city is encouraging residents to join one of more than a dozen committees ranging from education or history to sponsorship to help plan for coming celebrations.
Disclaimer: Matt Mayberry is a member of the 91.5 KRCC Community Advisory Board.