Last week, the Woodland Park Downtown Development Authority (DDA) approved a plan to build a rodeo ground on Woodland Station.
After decades of failed development proposals and haggling over what to do with Woodland Station, the DDA has finally roped a western-style, cowboy pursuit that may actually work. The organization has partnered with the American Professional Rodeo Association and the Rodeo Hall of Fame to build a state of the art rodeo grounds on Woodland Station.
With the last development proponents pulling out of their plan to build a multi-use, commercial and residential project on the property, the DDA has taken the bull by the horns and decided they will take action on what to do with the land.
The JAVA group had taken nearly a year rounding up investors, drawing plans, and talking about what a great project they were going to build, but when the last of their investors pulled out, they were forced to accept the fact that their grand plan would not be realized.
It seems once investors found out that the Environmental Protection Agency had pre-building regulations, calling for the entire property’s soil be dug up and removed to a depth of fifty-feet to be certain all the benzine contaminated soil had been removed, they all headed for the hills. The removal of the soil was estimated to cost around $6.5 million dollars.
The new rodeo facility will include an arena for bronc riding, bull riding, steer roping, barrel racing and all the other rodeo events that are so loved by cowboys and western enthusiasts. Other amenities for the grounds will include a beer garden, and a small western museum with displays on the history of rodeo in the US and the Woodland Park area. Future plans also include hosting an old fashion mountain man rendezvous, replete with mountain man contests, like hatchet throwing, marksmanship, fur trading, drinking contests, and knife fighting.
DDA Chairman Donnie Parry said, “It’s a remarkable achievement we are about to undergo here. This property has sat vacant for too long. Now it will be a centerpiece for the city, and a celebration of our western culture.”
Construction on the rodeo grounds is expected to begin in early April, as soon as fumes from the benzine soaked soil dissipates in the warming Spring temperatures making it safe for heavy equipment to work without the danger of a spark igniting the air causing a major explosion. The project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2023.
Ironically, the property was once the site of a rodeo ground before it was moved to the old sewage treatment plant location east of town on U.S. Hwy. 24.
Former DDA Chairwoman Mary Jo Parsons, said, “We should have never moved the rodeo grounds in the first place. That was the dumbest thing this town has done since city council approved the building of the Charis compound.”
In other DDA news: DDA Board Member, Darden Weathervane lost his bid to be the owner of the proposed future beer garden in conjunction with the soon to be rodeo grounds on Woodland Station. Board member Terry Goodguy protested loudly to Weathervane’s attempt to build the beer garden, calling it an “outright conflict of interest and abuse of power.” The board voted 5-3 to deny the request.
Happy April Fools Day!