|City of Colorado Springs|
Colorado Springs with the Front Range in background
|Nickname(s): The Springs|
|state of Colorado|
Location in the U.S.
City of Colorado Springs
|Incorporated||June 19, 1886|
|• Type||Home Rule Municipality|
|• Mayor||Steve Bach since 7. June 2011 (NP)|
|• Land||194.1 sq mi (481.1 km2)|
|• Water||0.6 sq mi (1.0 km2)|
|Elevation||6,035 ft (1,839 m)|
|Highest elevation||7,200 ft (2,200 m)|
|Lowest elevation||5,740 ft (1,750 m)|
|• City||431,834 (US: 41st)|
|• Density||2,242.5/sq mi (865.57/km2)|
|Time zone||MST (UTC−7)|
|• Summer (DST)||MDT (UTC−6)|
|ZIP codes||80901-80951, 80960, 80962, 80970, 80977, 80995, 80997|
|GNIS feature ID||0204797|
|Highways||I-25, US 24, US 85, SH 21, SH 29, SH 83, SH 94, SH 115|
Colorado Springs is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in the east central portion of the state. It is situated on Fountain Creek and is located 65 miles (105 km) south of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. At 6,035 feet (1,839 m) the city stands over one mile (1.6 km) above sea level, though some areas of the city are significantly higher and lower. Colorado Springs is situated near the base of one of the most famous American mountains, Pikes Peak, rising over 8,000 feet above the city on the eastern edge of the Southern Rocky Mountains. The United States Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs. The city is often referred to as "The Springs."
The city had an estimated population of 431,834 in 2012., being the second most populous city in the state of Colorado, behind Denver, and the 41st most populous city in the United States, while the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated population of 668,353 in 2012. The city covers 194.7 square miles (504 km2), making it Colorado's largest city in area. Colorado Springs was selected as the No. 1 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2006, and placed number one in Outside's 2009 list of America's Best Cities.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Climate
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Government
- 6 Economy
- 7 Military installations
- 8 Tourism
- 9 Parks, trails and open space
- 10 Sports
- 11 Religious institutions
- 12 Metropolitan area
- 13 Transportation
- 14 Media
- 15 Education
- 16 Sister cities
- 17 Notable residents
- 18 In popular culture
- 19 See also
- 20 References
- 21 External links
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 186.1 sq mi (482.1 km2), of which 185.8 sq mi (481.1 km2) is land and 0.39 sq mi (1.0 km2) (0.21%) is water.
Colorado Springs has a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), and its location just east of the Southern Rocky Mountains affords it the rapid warming influence from chinook winds during winter but also subjects it to drastic day-to-day variability in weather conditions. The city has abundant sunshine throughout the year, averaging over 300 days of sun per year, and receives approximately 16.5 inches (419 mm) of annual precipitation. Due to unusually low precipitation for several years after flooding in 1999, Colorado Springs enacted lawn water restrictions in 2002. These were lifted in 2005.
Colorado Springs is also one of the most active lightning strike areas in the United States. This natural phenomenon led Nikola Tesla to select Colorado Springs as the preferred location to build his lab and study electricity.
Winters range from mild to moderately cold, with December, the coldest month, averaging 29.8 °F (−1.2 °C); historically January has been the coldest month, but, in recent years, December has had both lower daily maxima and minima. Typically, there are 5.2 nights with sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows and 23.6 days where the high does not rise above freezing, and extended sub-zero (°F) cold is rare. Snowfall is usually moderate and remains on the ground briefly, with the city receiving 38 inches (97 cm) per season, although the mountains to the west often receive in excess of triple that amount; March is the snowiest month in the region, both by total accumulation and number of days with measurable snowfall. In addition, 8 of the top 10 heaviest 24-hour snowfalls have occurred from March to May. Summers are very warm, with July, the warmest month, averaging 70.9 °F (21.6 °C), and 18 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs annually. Due to the high elevation and aridity, nights are usually relatively cool and rarely does the low remain above 70 °F (21 °C). Dry weather generally prevails, but brief afternoon thunderstorms are common, especially in July and August when the city receives the majority of its annual rainfall, due to the North American Monsoon.
The first freeze in the autumn and the last freeze in the spring on average occur on October 2 and May 6, respectively; the average window for measurable snowfall (≥0.1 in or 0.25 cm) is October 21 thru April 25. Extreme temperatures range from 101 °F (38 °C) on June 26, 2012 down to −27 °F (−33 °C) on February 1, 1951 and December 9, 1919.
|Climate data for Colorado Springs, Colorado (Airport), 1981–2010 normals|
|Record high °F (°C)|| 73
|Average high °F (°C)|| 43.2
|Average low °F (°C)|| 17.7
|Record low °F (°C)|| −26
|Precipitation inches (mm)|| 0.31
|Snowfall inches (cm)|| 5.5
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||3.9||4.7||7.6||8.3||10.6||10.2||11.5||13.6||7.3||5.0||4.6||4.3||91.6|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||4.1||4.2||5.7||3.5||0.7||0||0||0||0.3||1.8||3.8||4.6||28.7|
|Source: NOAA (extremes 1894–present)|
As of the 2010 census, the population of Colorado Springs was 416,427 (41st most populous U.S. city), and the population of the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area was 645,613 in 2010 (84th most populous MSA), and the population of the Front Range Urban Corridor in Colorado was an estimated 4,166,855.
As of the April 2010 census: 78.8% White, 16.1% Hispanic or Latino (of any race), 6.3% Black or African American, 3.0% Asian, 1.0% Native American, 0.3% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 5.5% Some other race, 5.1% Two or more races. Mexican Americans made up 14.6% of the city's population.[nb 1]
On November 2, 2010 Colorado Springs voters adopted a council-strong mayor form of government. The City of Colorado Springs transitioned to the new system of government in 2011. Under the council-strong mayor system of government, the mayor is the chief executive and the city council is the legislative branch. The mayor is a full-time elected position and not a member of the city council. The city council has nine members total, four of which represent one of four equally populated districts each. Districts 5 and 6 do not have a direct representative. The remaining five members are elected "at-large". The mayor has veto authority, with the city council having the ability to override a mayoral veto by a two-thirds majority vote (6 out of 9).Colorado Springs City Hall was built from 1902 to 1904 on land donated by W. S. Stratton.
Colorado Springs' economy is driven primarily by the military, the high-tech industry, and tourism, in that order. The city is currently experiencing some growth mainly in the service sectors. The current unemployment rate, as of June 2012, in Colorado Springs is 9.8% compared to 8.2% for the State and the Nation.
The defense industry plays a major role in the Colorado Springs economy, with some of the city's largest employers coming from the sector. A large segment of this industry is dedicated to the development and operation of various projects for missile defense. With its close ties to defense, the aerospace industry has also influenced the Colorado Springs economy. Although some defense corporations have left or downsized city campuses, a slight growth trend is still recorded. Significant defense corporations in the city include Boeing, General Dynamics, Harris Corporation, SAIC, ITT, L-3 Communications, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. The Space Foundation is based in Colorado Springs.
A large percentage of Colorado Springs' economy is still based on manufacturing high tech and complex electronic equipment. The high tech sector in the Colorado Springs area has decreased its overall presence from 2000 to 2006 (from around 21,000 down to around 8,000), with notable reductions in information technology and complex electronic equipment. Due to a slowing in tourism, the high tech sector still remains second to the military in terms of total revenue generated and employment. Current trends project the high tech employment ratio will continue to decrease in the near future.
High tech corporations with connections to the city include:
Verizon Business, a telecommunications firm, had nearly 1300 employees in 2008. Hewlett-Packard is a large sales, support, and SAN storage engineering center for the computer industry.
Storage Networking Industry Association is the home of the SNIA Technology Center. Agilent, spun off from HP in 1999 as an independent, publicly traded company. Intel had 250 employees in 2009. The facility is now used for the centralized unemployment and social services complex.
LSI Corporation designs semiconductors and software that accelerate storage and networking in datacenters and mobile networks. Atmel (formerly Honeywell), is a chip fabrication organization. Cypress Semiconductor Colorado Design Center is a chip fabrication research and development site. The Apple Inc. facility was sold to Sanmina-SCI in 1996.
According to the City's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||Percentage of County Employment|
|2||Peterson Air Force Base||4.11%|
|3||Schriever Air Force Base||2.86%|
|4||United States Air Force Academy||2.29%|
|5||Memorial Health Services||1.65%|
|6||Colorado Springs School District 11||1.40%|
|7||Academy School District 20||0.97%|
|8||Penrose-St. Francis Health Services||0.93%|
|9||City of Colorado Springs||0.81%|
|10||El Paso County||0.70%|
The United States Military plays a very important role in the city. Colorado Springs is home to both Army and Air Force bases. These military installations border the city, to the north, south and east, aside from Schriever Air Force Base, which is located farther east of the city, still in El Paso County.
Fort Carson is the city's largest military base, and until mid-2006 was home to the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, which relocated to Fort Hood, Texas. In 2009, Fort Carson became the home station of the 4th Infantry Division, which nearly doubled the base's population. Fort Carson is host to various training grounds for infantry, armor, and aviation units. Fort Carson is also the headquarters of the second and third battalions of the 10th Special Forces Group.
Peterson Air Force Base
The Air Force has critical aspects of their service based at Colorado Springs which carry on missile defense operations and development. The Air Force bases a large section of the national missile defense operations here, with Peterson Air Force Base set to operate large sections of the program. Peterson AFB is currently the headquarters of the majority of Air Force Space Command and the operations half of Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Strategic Command (SMDC/ARSTRAT).
Peterson is also headquarters for the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), one of the Unified Combatant Commands. USNORTHCOM directs all branches of the U.S. military operations in their area of responsibility which includes the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, and Mexico. In the event of national emergencies the President or Secretary of Defense can call upon USNORTHCOM for any required military assistance. Service members from every branch of the US Military are stationed at the command.
Schriever Air Force Base (formerly Falcon AFB)
Schriever Air Force Base is home to the 50th Space Wing, which controls warning, navigational, communications and spy satellites. It is also the home of the Space Warfare Center and the home for the 576th Flight Test Squadron. It is the location of the Global Positioning System (GPS) master control station and GPS Operations Center and the US Naval Observatory Alternate Master Clock, used to synchronize GPS satellite time. Schriever is also developing parts of national missile defense and runs parts of the annual wargames used by the nation's military.
United States Air Force Academy
Bordering the north-western side of the city lie the vast grounds of the United States Air Force Academy, where cadets train to become officers in the Air Force. The campus is famous for its unique chapel and draws visitors year round. Most of the Air Force Academy's sports programs belong to the Mountain West Conference.
NORAD and Cheyenne Mountain Air Station
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a component of America's missile defense system, is located in Cheyenne Mountain Air Station. When it was built at the height of the Cold War, NORAD caused some anxiety for the residents in and around Colorado Springs, who believed the installation would be a primary target during a nuclear attack. Although NORAD still operates today, it is primarily tasked with the tracking of ICBMs, and the military has recently decided to place Cheyenne Mountain's NORAD/NORTHCOM operations on warm standby and move operations to nearby Peterson Air Force Base.
The city's location at the base of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains makes it a popular tourism destination. Tourism is the third largest employer in the Pikes Peak region, accounting for more than 13,000 jobs. Nearly 5 million visitors come to the area annually, contributing $1.35 billion in revenue.
Colorado Springs has more than 55 attractions and activities in the area, including Garden of the Gods, United States Air Force Academy, the ANA Money Museum, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Old Colorado City and the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
The downtown Colorado Springs Visitor Information Center offers free area information to leisure and business travelers. The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR), also located downtown, supports and advocates for the arts throughout the Pikes Peak Region. It operates the PeakRadar website to communicate city events.
Parks, trails and open space
There are 136 neighborhood, 8 community, 7 regional parks and 5 sports complexes totally 9,000 acres managed by the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services. They also manage 500 acres of trails, which are 160 miles of park trails and 105 miles of urban trails. There are 5,000 acres of open spaces in 48 open space areas.
One of the most popular areas in Colorado Springs is Garden of the Gods. It is a National Natural Landmark with 300 foot sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of the snow-capped mountains of Pikes Peak. The park offers a variety of annual events. One of the most popular events is the Starlight Spectacular. It is a recreational bike ride held every summer to benefit the Trails and Open Space Coalition of Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs has several major parks, such as Palmer Park, America the Beautiful Park (Confluence Park), Memorial Park, and Monument Valley Park.
Pulpit Rock, in Pikeview (North Colorado Springs)
Three trails, the New Santa Fe Regional Trail, Pikes Peak Greenway and Fountain Creek Regional Trail, form a continuous path from Palmer Lake, through Colorado Springs, to Fountain, Colorado. The Urban Trails system has more than 100 miles of multi-use trails for biking, jogging, roller blading and walking. The trails, except Monument Valley Park trails, may be used for equestrian traffic. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails. Many of the trails are interconnected, having main "spine" trails, like the Pikes Peak Greenway, that lead to secondary trails.
Colorado Springs is home to the United States Olympic Training Center and the headquarters of the United States Olympic Committee. In addition, a number of United States national federations for individual Olympic sports have their headquarters in Colorado Springs, including: United States or USA bobsled, fencing, skating, basketball, boxing, cycling, judo, field hockey, hockey, swimming, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon, volleyball, and wrestling associations and organizations and the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
The city has a particularly long association with the sport of figure skating, having hosted the U.S. Figure Skating Championships 6 times and the World Figure Skating Championships 5 times. It is home to the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame and the Broadmoor Skating Club, a notable training center for the sport. In recent years, the World Arena has hosted skating events such as Skate America and the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.
|Colorado Springs Sky Sox||Baseball||1988||Minor league; Pacific Coast League||Security Service Field|
|Colorado Springs Blizzard||Soccer||2004-Folded in 2006||United Soccer Leagues; USL Premier Development League||Security Service Field|
|Colorado Rush Men's Premier||Soccer||2007||Premier Arena Soccer League; National Premier Soccer League (National Division III)||Security Service Field|
|Colorado Springs Rugby Football Club||Rugby||1969||Eastern Rockies Rugby Football Union; USA Rugby; (National Division II)||Bear Creek Regional Park|
|Colorado Springs Cricket Club||Cricket||1999||Colorado Cricket League||Rose Bowl, Memorial Park|
The local colleges feature many sports teams. Notable among them are the following nationally competitive NCAA Division I teams: United States Air Force Academy (Fighting Falcons) Football, Basketball and Hockey, Colorado College (Tigers) Hockey, and Women's Soccer.
Colorado Springs and Denver hosted the 1962 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships.[nb 2]
The Mountain West Conference is based in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs was the original headquarters of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) from its founding in 1992 until 2005, when the organization was moved to Pueblo; the PBR used to hold an annual Built Ford Tough Series event at the World Arena from 2001 until 2005 when the organization made the move to Pueblo.
Although houses of worship of almost every major world religion can be found in the city, Colorado Springs has in particular attracted a large influx of Evangelical Christians and Christian organizations in recent years. At one time Colorado Springs was counted to be the national headquarters for 81 different religious organizations, earning the city the tongue-in-cheek nicknames "the Evangelical Vatican" and "The Christian Mecca." Religious groups with regional or international headquarters in Colorado Springs include:
Colorado Springs has many features of a modern urban area, such as parks, bike trails, and urban open-area spaces. However, it is not exempt from problems that typically plague cities that experience tremendous growth, such as overcrowded roads and highways, crime, sprawl, and government budget issues. Many of the problems are indirectly or directly caused by the city's difficulty in coping with the large population growth experienced in the last twenty years, and the annexation of the Banning Lewis Ranch area to accommodate further population growth of 175,000 future residents.
Colorado Springs is served by a bus system called Mountain Metro (short for Mountain Metropolitan Transit). Although the transit system serves much of the city and its nearest suburbs (Manitou Springs and Security/Widefield), it lacks service to many important areas (Powers Blvd, Northgate, the Airport) and has only limited hours of operation.
Colorado Springs is served by the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport. In the state of Colorado, only Denver International has more passenger traffic. The airport has experienced a higher recovery rate in the post-9/11 era than the rest of the country and is in the process of expanding its maintenance facilities, taxiways, and runways to accommodate future growth. In 2005 it served approximately two million passengers.
Colorado Springs is part of a consortium of cities trying to build the Front Range Commuter Rail.
Major highways and roads
Colorado Springs is primarily served by two interstate highways. I-25 runs north and south through Colorado, and is in the city for nearly 18 miles, entering the city south of Circle Drive and exiting north of InterQuest Parkway. In El Paso County it is known as Ronald Reagan Highway.[nb 3] US 24 runs across the central mountains, through the city, and onto the plains. From west to east in Colorado Springs, US 24 follows the western portion of Cimarron Street and the Midland Expressway, a 2-mile concurrent section with I-25/US 87 between exits 139 and 141, part of Fountain Blvd, an expressway called the Martin Luther King Bypass, part of South Powers Blvd (where it is concurrent with Colorado 21), and the easternmost portion of Platte Avenue out of the city.
A number of state highways serve the city. State Highway 21 is a major east side semi-expressway from Black Forest to Fountain. It is widely known as Powers Boulevard. State Highway 83 runs north-south from Denver to northern Colorado Springs. State Highway 94 runs east-west from western Cheyenne County to eastern Colorado Springs. State Highway 115 begins in Cañon City and runs up Nevada Avenue. US 85 and SH 115 are concurrent between Lake Avenue and I-25. US 85 enters the city at Fountain and was signed at Venetucci Blvd, Lake Avenue, and Nevada Avenue.[nb 4]
County and city roads
In 2004, the voters of Colorado Springs and El Paso County established the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority and adopted a 1% sales tax dedicated to improving the region's transportation infrastructure. Together with state funding for the Colorado Springs Metro Interstate Expansion (COSMIX) (2007 completion) and the I-25 interchange with Highway 16 (2008 completion), significant progress has been made since 2003 in addressing the transportation needs of the area. Currently the City is trying to overcome a $23.3 million budget gap created by falling sales taxes and rising expenses.
Several suggestions have been made to create a loop around the city though none have been implemented.[nb 5] To manage congestion, the city implemented two graded separated intersections at Powers and Woodmen and at Austin Bluffs and Union. A third interchange was completed in 2011 at the Woodmen Road/Academy Boulevard intersection.
In early 2010, the city of Colorado Springs approved an expansion of the northernmost part of Powers Boulevard in order to create an Interstate 25 bypass commonly referred to as the Copper Ridge Expansion.[nb 6]
Elementary and middle schools
Public schools The city's public schools are divided into several districts:
Bachelors and graduate degree programs are offered at these colleges and universities in the city:
- Colorado College
- The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS)
- Colorado Technical University
- Remington College
- Nazarene Bible College
- The Citadel Campus of Colorado State University at Pueblo
- DeVry University
- The University of the Rockies.
Sister cities of Colorado Springs include:
- Fujiyoshida, Japan (1962)
- Kaohsiung, Taiwan (1983)
- Smolensk, Russia (1993)
- Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (1994)
- Nuevo Casas Grandes, Mexico (1996)
- Bankstown, Australia (1999)
- Palmas, Brazil (2002).
Colorado Springs' sister city organization began when Colorado Springs became partners with Fujiyoshida. The torii gate erected to commemorate the relationship stands at the corner of Bijou Street and Nevada Avenue, and is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. The torii gate, crisscrossed bridge and shrine, located in the median between Platte and Bijou Streets in downtown Colorado Springs, were a gift to Colorado Springs, erected in 1966 by the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs to celebrate the friendship between the two communities. A plaque near the torii gate states that "the purpose of the sister city relationship is to promote understanding between the people of our two countries and cities". The Fujiyoshida Student exchange program has become an annual event.
To strengthen relations between the two cities, the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony regularly invites the Taiko drummers from the city to participate in a joint concert in the Pikes Peak Center. The orchestra played in Bankstown, Australia, in 2002 and again in June 2006 as part of their tours to Australia and New Zealand.
Also, in 2006 and 2010, the Bankstown TAP (Talent Advancement Program), performed with the Youth Symphony, and the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale, as a part of the annual "In Harmony" program.
A notable similarity between Colorado Springs and its sister cities are their geographic positions: three of the seven cities are also located near the base of a major mountain or mountain range.
In popular culture
Colorado Springs has been the subject or setting for many books, movies and television shows, and is especially a frequent backdrop for political thrillers and military-themed stories because of its many military installations and vital importance to the United States' continental defense. Notable television series using the city as a setting include Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and the Stargate series Stargate SG-1, as well as the films WarGames and The Prestige.
In a North Korean propaganda video released in April 2013, Colorado Springs was inexplicably singled out as one of four targets for a missile strike. The video failed to pinpoint Colorado Springs on the map, instead showing a spot somewhere in Louisiana.
|Find more about Colorado Springs, Colorado at World Heritage Encyclopedia's sister projects|
|Definitions and translations from|
|Media from Commons|
|Source texts from|
|Learning resources from|
- City of Colorado Springs website
- Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
- Colorado Springs Travel Information: Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Early Capitol and Legislative Assembly Locations
- Garden of the Gods