Today, the state's Economic Development Commission will choose which, if any, of six projects that applied will get subsidies under the Regional Tourism Act. Eco devo chief Ken Lund has recommended that just one be granted incentives: Gaylord, which wants to build an Aurora hotel/resort complex.
And that's not all the Nashville-based Gaylord Entertainment Co. wants. There's also the National Western Stock Show.
Last June, when Gaylord announced that it wanted to build a huge hotel/resort/convention complex in Aurora, it made it clear from the start that it wouldn't mind adding the National Western Stock Show to the mix...if not in the complex itself, then working closely with the NWSS if it relocated to a spot nearby.
And Stock Show officials also made it clear that they wouldn't mind moving out of their current, cramped spot -- even though they have a lease with Denver that stretches to 2040.
Since then, there's been much discussion of not just the Stock Show facilities, but the organization's entire structure. And on April 17, NSWW CEO Paul Andrews sent this note to the 99 members of the National Western Stock Show board:
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Pat Grant and I have taken the last 30 days to complete interviews with nearly 90% of the Board of 99. We conducted these interviews with the goal of gathering honest feedback on long range planning and any other topics the Director may wish to discuss in regard to the Western Stock Show Association. Although we still have a few interviews left, one message has come forward loud and clear; the Governance of the WSSA needs to be reviewed as we enter the next year and potentially face some of the most important decisions in the history of this institution.
As a result of these interviews, we are forming a "Governance Task Force" that will study our current structure and recommend a course of action for the future. We have asked two members of the Executive Committee to lead this task force and bring forth recommendations that will be discussed at a future meeting where all 99 Directors will be invited to discuss the findings prior to any decision. Ron Williams and Pete Coors have volunteered their time and expertise to guide this process and have been asked to gather the majority of the task force from current Directors. The process for selection will begin immediately and those of you that might be contacted and asked to serve should consider your response at this time. We hope to have some initial feedback by the May 18 annual meeting, but we will not rush the project to hit this date due to the importance of a well thought through plan.
Thanks for your continued support of the Western Stock Show Association and see you in May.
Paul Andrews President & CEO National Western Stock Show
Maybe by the time the board convenes today, its members will know if Gaylord has gotten enough encouragement from the state to go forward with the project. Gaylord officials have said they'd call a halt if they didn't get the total requested -- $153.4 million over the next thirty years -- and Lund has recommended Gaylord get just over half of that.
It's a real horse race.
Aurora isn't waiting to find out about the Gaylord project. Read about how Visit Aurora is pushing tourism and travel to the city in our March cover story, "Wish You Were Here!"