Senate approves hefty National Western renovation plan

DENVER - The Colorado Senate has approved a $350 million plan to put Colorado State University buildings at the National Western Stock Show site in Denver.

The renovation plan is pitched as a major revitalization effort. The measure already passed the House.

The bill approved Tuesday details a plan for Colorado to enter lease-purchase agreements over the next 20 years. The money will be used to build several new Colorado State University buildings including a new equine center.

The financing plan won preliminary approval despite opposition from some that the National Western Complex would get unfair priority over other projects.

House Bill 1344:

The city of Denver is working on plans to redevelop the National Western Center campus over the next decade.

The city is requesting funding for the project from the Regional Tourism Act. The RTA funds large-scale and unique tourism projects that significantly increase new visitors to the state.

A big part of the financing would be dependent upon voter approval of a tax extension to hotel and car rental taxes. The tax extensions also would help finance additional Colorado Convention Center upgrades.

Not included in the National Western financing plan are a 10,000-seat arena to replace the Denver Coliseum, a new exposition hall and the remodeling of the 106-year-old Stadium Arena into a market. Those would come toward the end of the 10-year improvement plan.


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