Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mejia: Slow Down on Stock Show Lease Decision

New Mayor and City Council should find way to keep National Western in Denver

DENVER – Any decision to consider a proposal allowing the National Western Stock Show out of the City of Denver should be made by the future administration and City Council, Mayoral Candidate James Mejia today stated. The decision should only be made after the NWSS has proven that it has exhausted its options to renovate the current facility or relocate to another location in Denver .

A front page story in the Denver Post today outlined a proposal that would move the National Western Stock Show from its current site in Denver to a location in Aurora ; however, the NWSS must first get consent from the City of Denver in order to break its lease at its current site which lasts until 2040.

“The City of Denver is still feeling the pain of losing major facilities such as Children’s Hospital, the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and St. Anthony’s Hospital,” Mejia said.

“Not only are these legacy facilities major bases for tax revenue, but when they leave, gaping holes are left in their wake. Neighborhoods and communities all feel the negative effects of these losses.”

“It is premature and would be inappropriate for the Denver City Council and the current Mayor to consider any action relating to the NWSS at this point,” Mejia said. “This is a major policy issue and the City of Denver , the NWSS and Gaylord need to consider all options, including financing, before the City would consider letting the NWSS out of its lease.”

Contrary to comments in the paper this morning, the City of Denver does have the ability to provide Tax Increment Financing (TIF) solutions for appropriate development projects that promise to provide economic development opportunities in the City. Dozens of TIF approved projects through the Denver Urban Development Authority and the City can also create a special TIF District for individual projects.

Earlier this year, as part of his campaign platform, Mejia asked the NWSS for a one-year moratorium on any discussions or negotiations that would result in the 105-year-old institution relocating from its current facilities to outside the City and County of Denver .

Following another year of blockbuster crowds at the annual January event, Mejia noted the continuing challenges and the frustration of the National Western to accommodate the growth of the popular event at its current facility.

“I know there has been tremendous frustration on behalf of the National Western to get this problem addressed through past discussions with the City,” Mejia said. “One of my first acts, if I am honored to be elected Mayor, will be to find a solution that will allow the National Western to grow in Denver . I want to open up a conversation with the citizens of Denver , community and business leaders and urban planning professionals to determine a way to grow, improve and most importantly KEEP the National Western in the City and County of Denver .”

First held in 1906, the National Western Stock Show has grown into the world largest stock show by numbers of animals. In addition to the activities at the National Western Complex, the Stock Show includes the National Western Rodeo, one of the largest indoor rodeos, educational opportunities and the traditional parade through downtown Denver , culminating with the champion steer holding court in the lobby of the historic Brown Palace Hotel.

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