Town Board gives nod to pursue Regional Tourism Act application |

Town Board gives nod to pursue Regional Tourism Act application

Casey Kelly

The Windsor Town Board heard conceptual ideas for a number of attractions intended to draw tourists to Northern Colorado, which could be financed through the state's Regional Tourism Act, if the town's upcoming application is approved.

Town Director of Economic Development Stacy Johnson said Windsor has partnered with the city of Loveland and Larimer County to submit an application through the state's Economic Development Commission.

She said the program will award two more areas in the state funding through the act before applications are closed for the program. The funding would come from an increment of the existing state sales tax already collected within the area's boundaries.

With no applications currently going to areas in Northern Colorado, Johnson said she believed the town has a good shot at getting its application approved.

Johnson said the state is seeking projects that would draw tourists from out of the state and, therefore, the projects would need to be unique and be able to show that they wouldn't be feasible without state funding.

Jay Hardy with McWhinney Enterprises discussed a number of possible projects that could draw people to the Centerra area, including a youth sports complex, an African sculpture park, a natural history/sportsmen's museum and a parcel for possible residential/office/hotel development.

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Martin Lind with Water Valley Land Company talked about the possibility of ice sheets that could enable hockey competitions to be hosted in the area full time, a golf course with the ability to host Champions Tour and PGA Tour golfing events, a resort and convention center and a high-end recreation vehicle park.

Loveland Economic Development Director Betsy Hale discussed the possibility of replacing the lodging facility at the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, which was damaged in last year's flood.

The cost from the public sector to submit the application is estimated at $225,000, Johnson said. She said the request to the board would be $50,000, with the remaining $175,000 being requested from two of the city of Loveland's funds. She said an additional $300,000 has been raised from the private sector for the application.

The partnering government agencies plan to form a private nonprofit corporation, Go NoCo, to submit the application before the February deadline. Johnson said the award announcement would happen in Oct. 2015.

Board member Myles Baker asked if other neighboring municipalities were interested in contributing and Johnson said Fort Collins declined to be a partner and Larimer County, while a partner in the application, didn't want to financially support the application because of concerns about competition.

The board found consensus to pursue funding the grant and asked town staff to bring back a proposed funding source for the project for consideration.

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