- Denver seeks $117 million for National Western Stock Show campus.
- State funds seen as crucial for $856 million plan.
- Idea is to make National Western a year-round venue.
The City and County of Denver is seeking $116.9 million in state funds to help transform the National Western Stock Show campus into a year-round event center.
On Tuesday, Denver submitted its application for the Regional Tourism Act funding,.
Approval is considered key to transform the January stock show event and the old complex into a year-round National Western Center campus.
The estimated cost for the first two of three segments of the NWC campus project is $856 million.
A renovated center would double the number of new visitors to more than 2.2 million. It also would double the economic impact of the site to an estimated $200 million a year.
The state program funds large-scale and unique regional tourism projects that significantly increase new visitors to the state.
The RTA funds would go toward planning and implementation of an Equestrian Center, Stockyards/Outdoor Events Pavilion and Livestock Center. They are all multi-use, year-round facilities that will position Denver to attract 100 new national and international events annually.
“Our vision for the NWC campus is to take what is now a gridlocked and underutilized site and turn it into a dynamic year-round tourist destination and agribusiness incubator, to reclaim access to the South Platte River and to reconnect the neighborhoods of Globeville, Elyria and Swansea with not only new streets and bridges but with new educational and economic opportunities,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock.
“This investment lays the groundwork for Denver’s future by providing the infrastructure and the vision that will launch further investment in and around the National Western Center campus and all along the Corridor of Opportunity,” Hancock continued.
The National Western Center campus vision includes current partners such as the Western Stock Show Association, Colorado State University, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, History Colorado and VISIT DENVER, with the potential for additional partnerships from the public and private sectors.
“This important redevelopment for the National Western Center will assure the future of the National Western Stock Show for the next 100 years – on the actual historic grounds for which it was established in 1909,” said Paul Andrews, president and CEO of the National Western Stock Show.
“The National Western Center partners are creating a business model that triples the size of the campus to support the state’s $41 billion agricultural industry and celebrate arts, education, research, entertainment and our western heritage year-round,” Andrews added.
“The re-imagined campus will provide a location for important global scale conversations about food systems and the intersections with water, health, energy and the environment,” said Amy Parsons, Vice President for Operations at CSU.
“We are excited about the potential to bring guests from around the world to Denver to discuss agricultural innovation in a unique urban agricultural setting, while supporting our students with unique and exciting learning opportunities,” Parsons said
Through the work of the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative, the National Western Center campus will provide new and necessary infrastructure, create 46 acres of new public open space and establish access to RTD’s new North Metro Rail Line, making it accessible to the surrounding neighborhoods and visitors.
At full build-out, the new campus is expected to encompass 240 acres.
“The National Western Center campus reflects the vision of the Mayor to strategically align planning and implementation of six redevelopment projects that will uplift north Denver,” said Kelly Leid, Executive Director of the NDCC.
“By leveraging the National Western Center project, we will activate four of six NDCC projects, which will help catalyze the campus, set in motion cleanup efforts on the river, foundational work in the neighborhoods adjacent to the campus and new transit-oriented development,” Leid said.
“Denver is in a strong financial position to invest in a new National Western Center campus,” said Cary Kennedy, the city’s Chief Financial Officer. “The request to the state will allow us to build on our historic western heritage and create a catalytic campus that will open new opportunities to increase the region’s economic vitality and bring new out-of-state tourists to Denver every year,” Kennedy added.
Recognizing the importance of this project to the region, 24 cities and towns and 19 community groups and business organizations have joined the Denver City Council in support of the city’s RTA request.
The city will learn the outcome of the RTA application in late 2015.
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