Downtown Development Authority Mulling Alternate Uses For Woodland Station

Concerns mounting over lack of progress with “The  Rendezvous”

Bob Volpe

The future of Woodland Station has once again commanded central attention by leaders of the Woodland Park Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

During a February DDA meeting, concerns were expressed regarding the lack of progress regarding a multi-use development, including retail,  entertainment and even a rodeo hub and amphitheater. These plans previously were warmly welcomed by board leaders.

That stance has now changed.

According to DDA Treasurer Tanner Coy, “We’ve not heard of progress from Mr.  (Mike) Williams and company lately. The exclusive negotiating agreement is not signed by them, and the DDA Board is looking at other means of moving forward with the property.”

Mike Williams and his company have been quietly working on plans to develop Woodland Station for over a year now, and have yet to break ground on the project.

At a DDA board meeting last August, Williams gave a presentation outlining his plan. He called the project “The Rendezvous” and described some of the amenities he hopes to bring to the land. He said, “The project at Woodland Station will be developed in multiple successive stages. In its completion it will contain a 6-plus acre historically themed development promising good times and special memories for all ages. Its varied offerings will include something for practically everyone with multiple outdoor adventure and discovery activities, year-round entertainment venues inside a Family Entertainment Center, specialty retail, food and beverage service, second floor residences and hospitality housing, an event barn, a designated rodeo area, an amphitheater, and multiple Pike’s Peak observation points. A key component of The Rendezvous will be an open green space directly behind Bergstrom Park to serve the many colorful festivals and citywide events that already make the various seasons at Woodland Park even more special.”

The DDA board seems to be growing weary of Williams’ promises, and without action by Williams, the board will move forward with other plans, at least on a temporary basis.

However, this has been a familiar trend since the DDA took control of this property, which formerly served as the city’s prime rodeo grounds and the home of the Saddle Club.  Probably close to 10 major development bids have been proposed at this site, but never panned out since 2005.

Alternate Plans Under Review

According to Coy, there are two prevailing plans. These Include:

*Subdividing the land into at least three smaller lots and market those lots with a commercial real estate broker. This plan would involve other sales “staging” efforts such as possibly negotiating an access agreement to use the Amerigas access, and possibly asking the city to make additional amendments to the 2009 agreement to further reduce development requirements.

*Enhancing the site’s appearance and function by making surface improvements such as grass, feature boulders, gravel paths, etc. and to provide a more usable outdoor space for the community.

Coy said, “Instead of one or the other, the DDA Board is currently developing both ideas simultaneously. By allowing these ideas to advance simultaneously, we’re hopeful they will prove themselves complimentary to each other, and of benefit to the downtown.”

In other DDA news, a dedication ceremony at the Cog Car is currently planned for Saturday Feb. 27, during which the car will be dedicated to Myrna Carter. A plaque will be installed, to name the car Myrna.  Dwain Carter is the man who donated over $12,600 to bring the car to the city. In return for his donation, the DDA agreed to name the car after Carter’s late wife Myrna.

The 2021 final budget (as approved by the Woodland Park City Council) was also presented.

The board might be bringing forward additional business support initiatives at future meetings. These, like the business license fee reduction and sales tax vendor fee, will be items aimed at improving the health and prosperity of Woodland Park’s business district. Some early ideas include building facade improvement grants, property tax rates levied by various entities, and other downtown improvements.