by Rick Langenberg:
If a property can’t prosper as a convenience store and gas station, then why not reap the benefits of the growing interest in recreational dirt bikes, all terrain and special utility vehicles and other toys for exploring forest service trails and the great outdoors surrounding Woodland Park.
The new Catamount Powersports company plans to set up shop at the Vista Subdivision and shopping center (next to Banana Belt and Papa Murphy’s) in downtown Woodland Park at 310 E. Hwy. 24 with a showroom, sales office and rental area. Catamount plans to use the current 3,093-square-foot building on the site, which previously served as a convenience store and gas station. The business got the final okay on Aug. 1 from the Woodland Park City Council, which had to grant the new operators a conditional use permit.
The business, owned by Paul Schexnayder, will specialize in dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles and utility-terrain vehicles or side-by-sides. It will serve as an outlet for buying these vehicles, getting them repaired and obtaining rentals. Also, the company will have trailers on site to assist ATV users, if they need to obtain trailer access to the nearby trail system.
The council approved the plan full-heartedly, and enthusiastically supported the prospects of pumping life into a prime building that has remained vacant for some time. This site has always struggled as a convenience/gas station. The most recent convenience store applicant conceded that the Woodland Park market is saturated with convenience stores.
The only concerns voiced dealt with potential noise, and the possibility of underground fuel tanks remaining from the previous business operation. The new business owners expressed optimism that these impacts could be fully mitigated. Catamount Powersports may start its operation later this year.
The city also received more positive news regarding the Woodland Station project (the former Saddle Club site), anchored by a new Woodland Hardware facility. As for other Woodland Station projects, the pursuit of a European-style beer garden, proposed by the owners of BierWerks Brewery, is moving swiftly ahead, according to Economic Development Director Brian Fleer with an opening this month. Plus, Fleer reported that the Paradise Lodge and Foxworth-Galbraith sites downtown are attracting some interest by future operators. In addition, Fleer said the downtown may obtain a Main Street designation in 2014.
But on the downside, Woodland Park may encounter a new vacant commercial site downtown, with the development of a new Starbucks center, next to the Wal-Mart center.
Plans were recently approved by the Woodland Park Planning Commission for amending the current Wal-Mart site development to include a 1,920-square-foot Starbucks coffeehouse on a pad site next to the Wal-Mart store. It will feature landscaping and architecture that complements the Wal-Mart center and include a drive-through lane and 22-spot parking area.
The coffeehouse, which could get constructed by the end of the year, would become the third Starbucks outlet in Woodland Park.
Several council members at recent meeting inquired about the fate of the other Starbucks outlets, with the new Wal-Mart addition. City Planning Director Sally Riley indicated that the mini-Starbucks area inside the Safeway will remain intact. But she noted that the store at the corner of West Street and U.S. Hwy. 24, next to the Donut Mill, may be vacated. Ironically, that was the first Starbucks store that landed in Teller County. That coffeehouse storefront previously served as a Seven/Eleven for many years.