I’d love to post Happy New Year For Colorado Springs as a statement, not a question, but the fact is, there are a LOT of questions out there as to how ‘happy’ 2011 will be around here. Here are a few:
- City budget problems are likely to persist, as tax limitation laws passed years ago make it difficult to adjust for the decline in property values that has occurred in the last few years.
- A new ‘strong mayor’ form of government could turn out to be a great thing, but it is not guaranteed by any stretch. The candidates so far are a ‘development friendly’ sort of group, which again could be a good thing, or not, depending on how sensitive they are about planning WELL for growth.
- Unemployment is a big problem at the moment, and nobody seems to have any instant answers as to how local unemployment (9.5%) will be reduced.
- Foreclosures, developments in trouble, etc will continue to be a dark cloud over both the commercial and residential real estate markets. The Banning Lewis Ranch and Colorado Crossing both come to mind as problem children.
- Do I dare say the “D” word? Not depression, but DROUGHT! We have had a record dry fall and early winter, and while there is a trace of snow on the ground for the moment, it will likely be gone in another day or 2, and there isn’t much on the horizon. A drought could put even more pressure on the cash strapped parks department for maintaining green grass, and some sense of normalcy. There won’t be a shortage of water mind you, since the snow pack is excellent, but irrigation costs money, and we rely on natural rain and snow to keep the watering bills affordable.
- Will the troops ever get to STAY home? While it sounds selfish, the fact is that long, repeated deployments from Ft Carson make a significant dent in the economy around here, and while the end game is here for Iraq, Afghanistan has a lot less certainty.
Questions aside, Colorado Springs has a GREAT future ahead. We’ll just have to see how much of it is realized in 2011!