By Beth Dodd
At the October 1 meeting of the Woodland Park DDA, the focus was on the budget and planning for the future.
The DDA approved their 2014 budget, and discussed the management of their debts, including the million dollar interest free loan due to the City of Woodland Park. The DDA expects to be able raise the money to pay off the loan by selling real estate at the new Woodland Station. Their first $36,000.00 payment comes due in 2014, and the total is due by 2017. At that time, the DDA’s note can be renegotiated for the remaining balance if it is not yet paid. The final pay off date is open-ended.
The Woodland Station project is proceeding nicely with the new Woodland Hardware Building rising on schedule. The final infrastructure is being completed now, and pavement should be laid before the end of October. The projected opening of the store is sometime in February.
For the balance of the Woodland Station development, an updated concept plan by NES Inc., a firm hired by the DDA to provide professional land planning and landscape architectural services, is expected to be presented at the November DDA meeting at the Woodland Park City Council Chamber at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 5. The great bulk of the planning is to be done within the next 30 days. The new plan will present a design for the overall project.
The new concept for Woodland Station may include an indoor/outdoor public events center with seating for 500, as well as retail, office, and residential space. Other possibilities include a hotel or even a bowling alley. Once the new concept plan is approved, the next phase of the project will be engineering design and lot sales.
There was also talk about the future of the Ute Chief Mobile Home Park at the south end of the Woodland Station area. Although there are no sales talks in progress or even planned with the owner of the park at the present time, some would like to see the land incorporated into the Woodland Station project. The vision for the area is for the aging mobile homes there now to someday be replaced with a multi-unit affordable housing complex.
At the end of the DDA meeting Tim Shefchik of BriMark Builders pitched a possible hotel project for Woodland Station. BriMark builds Cobblestone Inns & Suites, a hotel chain that specializes in serving small rural communities. The needs of the community are assessed and taken into account before building starts, and the company works with local suppliers and investors to ensure the revenues generated by the hotel stay in the community. Property sizes typically vary from 29 to 100 rooms, and can feature a beer & wine bar, a swimming pool, or conference rooms if desired.
On another note, Woodland Park continues to work on improving resident’s access to broadband internet service. Peak Internet is now installing fiber optics in some neighborhoods on the south side of town. Competition and redundancy are thought to be important to good and consistent internet service in the community, and Peak Internet’s main competition comes from Baja Broadband.