State commission backs Front Range tourist projects

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. | The Northern Front Range tourism industry has received a boost after the Colorado Economic Development Commission agreed to help fund four proposed projects.

The commission voted unanimously Thursday to approve an application from the Larimer County group called Go NoCo, which is promoting $332 million in economic development projects in Estes Park, Larimer County, Loveland and Windsor.

The projects include a hotel resort in Windsor, a film center in Estes Park and a water park resort and whitewater adventure park in Loveland. The projects are estimated to attract 8.7 million out-of-state visitors, $57.7 million in sales tax revenue over 30 years and create more than 2,300 jobs.

How much money the group will get is expected to be decided in December.

To develop the attractions, Go NoCo could get up to $50 million per year from a diverted portion of state sales tax revenue. The group estimates it will need at least $80.7 million from state or local subsidies, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reported (http://tinyurl.com/qjb9789).

The news was a major win for Estes Park, Loveland and Windsor.

“It’s a regional win,” Estes Park City Manager Frank Lancaster said. “We don’t just look at it as Estes Park. The more it makes us an attractive place for visitors to come visit, they will look at all of Northern Colorado.”

Assuming it all gets funded and built, the Stanley Film Center “would be a unique destination product for us” and help broaden the town’s year-round economy, he said.

The state commission also approved an RTA application submitted by the city of Denver, The Denver National Western Stock Show and Rodeo and Colorado State University. The group plans an $854.4 million expansion of the Denver National Western Stock Show and Rodeo.

The Stock Show is asking for $128 million. The project is anticipated to bring 265,000 out-of-state visitors to Colorado annually and $59.4 million in new sales tax revenue over a 30-year period.

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Information from: Fort Collins Coloradoan, http://www.coloradoan.com