The Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority (CSURA) was established by the City of Colorado Springs City Council in 1970 through the approval of Ordinance No. 3995. CSURA is a tool to assist with the restoration and redevelopment of specified areas determined to meet the State Statutes for blight. CSURA promotes projects that supply public benefit, provide quality sustainable places, create jobs, promote public art, offer affordable housing and raise the standard of development in Colorado Springs. These projects are achievable through the coordinated partnerships of private and public entities, civic leaders, financial institutions and the use of tax increment financing. The objective of CSURA is to facilitate development of balanced, sustainable environments where people, live work and come together as a community.
CSURA is a 9-member board appointed by the Mayor of Colorado Springs and approved by City Council members. There is a 5 year term for each member. Authority members typically have backgrounds in the fields of real estate, development, planning, finance and community involvement. CSURA is governed by Colorado State Statutes and is independent of any budgeting entity other than their own. An annual audit is done through an independent auditing firm and an annual audit report is reviewed and approved by Authority members. The audit report is also reviewed by the Colorado Springs City Auditor and included as part of the annual report by the City.
The primary implementation strategy of the Authority is to provide selected developers with the financial assistance necessary to allow the redevelopment project to compete successfully in the market place (Gap financing).When CSURA partners with a private developer and provides assistance to help finance redevelopment of a blighted property in Colorado Springs, the main tool it uses is called tax increment financing or TIF. TIF is a mechanism to capture the net new or incremental property taxes that are created when a vacant or underutilized property is redeveloped and use those revenues to help finance the project. Projects that generate sales tax revenue may also include the tax increment with the approval of the Colorado Springs City Council. A redevelopment agreement between CSURA and the developer is negotiated that lays out the specifics for which developer incurred qualified expenses will be eligible for reimbursement as well as the the total amount of increment that will be paid. A 25-year clock is set for each urban renewal project and that period begins with the approval of an urban renewal plan and the recording of the approved plan with El Paso County Clerk and Recorder. TIF can be collected and disbursed as reimbursement for allowable expenses for a maximum of 25 years.
CSURA currently has nine approved projects: