For years, the Winter Park Recreational Association -- another bunch of big names, not unlike those on the MFSD -- got almost a free ride from Denver, paying just $7,000 a year to run the resort. A few years back, that was bumped to $2.3 million -- and this year, Winter Park says it won't be able to make its payment. So in September, Webb formed a 25-member committee to investigate the city's options for Winter Park: invest the $60 million in improvements suggested by a recent study (hey, in Denver proper, a measly $60 million subsidy won't even get you two hotels); enter into a partnership with a private company that would help create a competitive ski resort; or sell the place, either outright or through a vote of the public.
"We don't have many icons in the West," Webb said, in explaining why the Mile High name should not be sold. We used to have the hyperbolic paraboloid and the Denver Post building, of course, but those fell under Webb's watch; Currigan could go soon, too, and now Winter Park may be on the endangered list. (Presumably Red Rocks is safe from becoming ranchettes, and Washington Park will never be condos.)
No matter what the district does with the naming rights, Webb can't lose. If the Mile High name stays, he's a hero. And if the district decides to go the other way -- well, you can't buy the kind of publicity Webb has collected in the last week. The MFSD, on the other hand, can't win. If it doesn't sell the rights, taxpayers who voted against a new stadium will carp. If it does sell the rights to some corporate fat cat, it's bound to look like a sellout -- which is what it will be -- and Denver's stadium will look like it's in Anywhere, USA. Unless, that is, a community-minded corporation agrees to keep the Mile High name on the outside (paying taxpayers for the privilege of doing the right thing) at the same time it shells out bigger bucks to have its logo imprinted on every portal and sign and toilet seat inside the joint, thus keeping Bowlen flush with cash.
Miracles do happen. Mile High used to be known for them.