2018: A Look to the Future…Woodland Park Could Face Another Wild Political Year

Spring election and city manager search top list of hot issues

 ~ by Bob Volpe ~

Judging by the accomplishments and disappointments of 2017, the coming year should see far less drama and conflict here in the City Above the Clouds, in 2018.

Or will it?

The pool is done and is meeting projections from the feasibility study on pass sales.
The Memorial Park revamp is finished and is being enjoyed daily by appreciative residents and tourists alike. The above topics, though, provided abundant fodder for politicians and the local media in 2017. So what will we have to stoke the fires of drama and discontent in 2018?

With City Manager David Buttery announcing he will step aside and pursue a life as a private citizen in April 2018, the search for a new WP boss could stir the pot nicely. Will the city promote from inside, as they did with Buttery, or will they seek the services of out-of-state applicants like they did with former city managers Don Howell and Mark Fitagerald?  Will they even get many applicants for the job?

Will former councilman Bob Carlsen revive his petition to switch to a “strong mayor” form of government and call for a special election on the issue? If that measure passes the city manager position would be abolished.

The city’s new sewage treatment plant will be online in early 2018. The state of the art facility will be a great asset to the infrastructure of the city.

In April, Woodland Park residents will elect three council members and a mayor. Will the current block of pols up for re-election run?  Will Mayor Neil Levy seek another term?

There were three members of Charis Bible College at the prospective candidate forum last December who may seek council seats or the mayor’s seat. How will this impact the political plate for Woodland Park?

Plus, development in city limits will also creep into the public agenda in 2018. Developer Tim Rabon expressed interest in building a Flying W style dinner ranch on property north of town in a predominantly residential area. The project’s first meeting with residents was met with intense opposition. Will the Chuckwagon project roll back into town or take the hint and ride off into the sunset?

The addition to the Country Lodge will be completed next year and will provide much needed  lodging for tourists.

Natural Grocers has decided they will build in town, despite having their request for a historically high tax incentive agreement rejected by the Downtown Development Authority, (DDA). The health food chain store will be located on Highway 24 on the old Paradise Ranch property and should be complete by the summer of 2018.

Focal Year for Woodland Station

And what about the Downtown Development Authority?

After the learning experience they encountered with Natural Grocers, the DDA has set a course to identify just how they go about offering tax incentive agreements. They are working to clarify the application process for prospective businesses who seek their service.

Then there is the DDA’s interest in Woodland Station. Many residents were perturbed when the aquatic center was not built on Woodland Station. Now the property sits basically empty, though the grounds are being maintained.

The DDA board is kicking the tires on using the property as a venue for special events, such as concerts and festivals. One event they are working to bring to the property is a Logging/Mountain Man rendezvous type of event for 2018. Will they get it together fast enough to bring the event in 2018?

Part of the fate of Woodland Station may rest with the courts. In March 2018, the DDA goes to court to dispute a claim of breach of contract filed by Bierwerks owner, Arden Weatherford. Weatherford wants to build a beer garden, a residential development and retail space on Lot 2 of Woodland Station, but the DDA claims their relationship with Weatherford was terminated, and thus he has no contract with the DDA.

This legal fight should get resolved next year and will play a big role in determining the future look of Woodland Station.