Where to Retire: Colorado Springs, Colorado

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From its beginnings as a resort city offering curative waters to its continued growth thanks to military bases and high-tech and service industries, Colorado Springs is and seems likely to remain Colorado’s second largest city. Its beautiful setting at the foot of the Front Range and its many amenities make it an attractive place for an active retirement.

Landscape: Colorado Springs’ site is spectacular. From the eastern part of town you get a superb view of snow-capped Pikes Peak, whereas from most points west of downtown the forested foothills eclipse the larger mountain. The cityscape is well wooded and green.

Climate: Colorado Springs’ four-season climate features light precipitation, plenty of sunshine and dramatic day-to-day and seasonal changes in weather. The city is sunny about 70% of the time and frost free 150 days.

Quality of Life: Good. Neighborhoods near downtown are remarkably attractive; great pride of home ownership is evident. Colorado Springs’ striking physical setting and its excellent parks also contribute to its high quality of life.

Housing: Hundreds of charming Victorian and early 20th century homes are found just north of downtown; suburban areas offer a great diversity of newer houses. Housing prices can be expected to remain affordable.

Goods and Services: Groceries and health care costs are 8% and 13% above their national averages whereas utilities are priced 20% below average. Transportation and other goods and services costs are near national norms.

Taxes: State and local taxes in Colorado Springs are 8.8% of income compared to the U.S. average of 9.7%. State income taxes are a little above the national average but property, sales and excise taxes are below average.

Transportation: Most residents drive. Local and intercity bus service is available. Colorado Springs Airport Shuttle serves Colorado Springs Airport and Denver International Airport. Amtrak and Greyhound provide service from Denver.

Retail Services: Major malls include the Citadel, Chapel Hills Mall and the Shops at Briargate. A Wal-Mart Supercenter is nearby.

Health Care: Of Colorado Springs’ five hospitals, two of them are large general hospitals. Additional medical services are only an hour away in Denver.

Community Services: The city, El Paso County, Pikes Peak Community College and local religious and community organizations offer a great variety of services.

Cultural and Educational Activities: Pikes Peak Center, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Iron Springs Chateau and Playhouse, the Broadmoor International Center and Colorado College are important centers for the arts. Colorado College, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and Pikes Peak Community College offer courses.

Recreational Activities: Outdoor recreation is plentiful in and around Colorado Springs. Palmer Park and the famous Garden of the Gods Park at the foot of Pikes Peak are special gems of the park system.

Work and Volunteer Activities: The Colorado Springs economy has boomed in recent years and many jobs and volunteer positions are available.

Crime Rates and Public Safety: Local police officers report that much of Colorado Springs’ crime occurs near the Fort Carson military base but that central and northern neighborhoods of the city are comparatively safe.

Conclusion: Colorado Springs’ physical site at the foot of Pikes Peak is scenic and its sunny climate appeals to many. The city rates highly in retail, health care and community services, work/volunteer opportunities and cultural and recreational offerings for an active retirement.

 

About Warren Bland

Warren R. Bland, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Geography at California State University, Northridge and author of Retire in Style: 60 Outstanding Places Across the USA and Canada, Next Decade, Inc., 2005. For more information about Dr. Bland’s books, go to Next Decade

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