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What You Need To Know

Colorado Springs is a home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in the east central portion of the state. It is situated on Fountain Creekand is located 60 miles (97 km) south of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. At 6,035 feet (1,839 m) the city stands over 1 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 above 14,000 feet (4,300 m) on the eastern edge of the Southern Rocky Mountains. The city is home to 24 national governing bodies of sport, the United States Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Training Center. The city had an estimated population of 465,101 in 2016, ranking as the second most populous city in the state of Colorado, behind Denver, and the 40th most populous city in the United States. The Colorado Springs, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated population of 712,327 in 2016. The city is included in the Front Range Urban Corridor, an oblong region of urban population along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming, generally following the path of Interstate 25 in both states. The city covers 194.9 square miles (505 km2), making it the most extensive municipality in Colorado.

Population: Estimate 465,101
Area: 505.3 km²

Currency

Economy

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 unemployment rate for the city as of October 2015 was 3.9%, a decrease from 4.8% in October 2014 and 7.3% in November 2013 and compared to 3.8% for the state and 5.0% for the nation.

Government

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, six of which represent one of six equally populated districts each. The remaining three 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.

In popular culture

Colorado Springs has been the subject of or setting for many books, movies and television shows, and is 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 PrestigeIn 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. The documentary television series Homicide Hunter, in which former Colorado Springs police detective Joseph Kenda recounts cases of homicide from his career, is set in Colorado Springs.

Language

English is the official language.

Marijuana

Although Colorado voters approved Colorado Amendment 64, a constitutional amendment in 2013 legalizing retail sales of marijuana for recreational purposes, the Colorado Springs city council voted not to permit retail shops in the city, as was allowed in the amendment. Medical marijuana outlets continue to operate in Colorado Springs. As of 2015, there were 91 medical marijuana clinics in the city, which reported sales of $59.6 million in 2014, up 11 percent from the previous year but without recreational marijuana shops. On April 26, 2016 Colorado Springs city council decided to extend the current six-month moratorium to eighteen months with no new licenses to be granted until May 2017.

Tourism

Almost immediately following the arrival of railroads beginning in 1871, the city’s location at the base of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains made it a popular tourism destination. Tourism is the third largest employer in the Pikes Peak region, accounting for more than 16,000 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.

Transport

Weather

Colorado Springs has a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), and its location just east of the 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.[34] The city has abundant sunshine year-round, averaging 243 sunny days per year,[35]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 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.