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City Council looks at use options for Scarlett’s Casino

By David Josselyn

Work Session

Council met with Staff to review a proforma for the former Scarlett’s Casino building which was gifted to the City earlier this year. Arleen Taniwaki, owner of ArLand LLC presented a Proforma Analysis for the Scarlett’s building for best economic uses for the City. Suggested uses in order of most economic returns to least are a casino, an entertainment center, an office space, a hotel, multi-family housing, and a mixed-use space. Taniwaki spoke with the prior owner, Ren Goltra, as part of her analysis for insight to unique challenges and advantages of the building. Her primary recommendation to council would be to hire a broker to vet the building for a new casino. However, if that does not pan out, her company recommends hiring an architect for redesign ideas with either a hotel or multi-family housing in mind. The rough estimates for conversion to a hotel are $7.6 million dollars which would create 55 rooms at a cost of $80,000 per room. A ten-year projection would start seeing profits in year five and stabilization by year ten. For multi-family housing, the estimated cost for renovation would be $4.4 million dollars creating 26 units ranging from lofts to 2-bedroom. A ten-year projection with rental rates at $1.75 per square foot would see consistent profits. Council directed Staff to bring some ideas based on this analysis to a work session for further consideration. Mayor Fey suggested they could use the building as a template for what they hope the Belvidere’s use will be once it is completed; and then consider options for renovation.

Regular Council Meeting

Mayor Fey convened the regular meeting at 7:01 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers. Council members; Jeff Aiken, Judy Laratta, Jackie Johnson, Jack Hidahl, and Mayor Jeremy Fey were present. In attendance for Staff were City Clerk Reba Bechtel, City Attorney Marcus McAskin, City Manager Daniel Miera, Community Development Director Ray Rears, Public Works Director Sam Hoover, Utilities Director Jack Beard, Fire Chief Gary Allen, and County Sheriff Division Chief Tom Ihme.

Mayor Fey led the Pledge of Allegiance and then asked for any amendments or additions to the evening’s agenda. Mayor Fey pointed out there was a change to the agenda since it was posted last week which added a Resolution as Item number 16 and Manager Miera clarified that the change was posted at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting so is not an official amendment.

Mayor Fey asked if there were any conflicts of interest for any member of the council. There were no conflicts expressed.

Consent Agenda

The Mayor called for a motion to approve the consent agenda which consisted of the minutes from the December 3 meeting and regular bill lists through December 5. Manager Miera pointed out that there will be an amended bill list correcting the spelling of the word “subscription” for a payment to Thomason Reuters – West (listed as “Subsrciption Fees”). Mayor Fey asked what services they provide and Manager Miera responded that they provide access for research on Colorado Statues and other items. Alderwoman Johnson questioned the $20,000 payment to the Hot Rod Hill Climb and Miera answered that the City has a three-year MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) providing “up to” $25,000 to supplement costs. Only twenty-thousand of that support is monetary; the remaining five-thousand is “in-kind” (not financial) support. Miera also explained that the City has typically provided similar support for three-year periods with the intent that the organization will be self-sufficient at the end of their agreement. The Hot Rod Hill Climb will be in their third year of the agreement with Central City in 2020. Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve the Consent Agenda and was seconded by Alderman Aiken. The motion passed unanimously.

Public Forum

Mayor Fey opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to a topic on the night’s agenda. No one chose to speak to the Council at that time.

Annual Reports

The City supports several non-profit organizations and as a condition of that support, each organization presents an annual report of how they used City money and how their organization is faring.

Main Street Central City Commission

Lisa Roemhildt presented the report for the Main Street Central City Commission and reviewed the events from 2019; the Pumpkin Patch, the Tommyknocker Holiday, the Holiday Lights Contest, and also that they attained grants to provide holiday décor for the streets and vacant buildings. In 2020, they are working to fill the vacant buildings with art and to present outdoor movies.

Historic Preservation Commission

Lindsey Flewelling presented the report for the Historic Preservation Commission. They reviewed 16 applications and approved 14 of them during 2019. In the next year, they will focus on outreach and education for residents regarding their responsibility when owning an historic home. Alderman Hidahl stated he would support expenditures for brochures that could be distributed in public places such as the post office. Flewelling reflected that the HPC cannot mandate that information be given and that Real Estate Brokers are not likely to hand out the brochure to prospective buyers which might deter their sale. Alderwoman Johnson commiserated having been on the HPC herself saying they have had several discussions in the past about the challenges of getting information out and was encouraged that the group is continuing to brainstorm for new ideas.

Central City Opera

Director of Properties Eric Chinn presented the report for the Central City Opera. The Opera is on a five-year plan toward self-sufficiency and has taken several steps toward that goal. They have renewed the contract for JKQ BBQ for another year and have entered a lease agreement with the Peak to Peak Players for the Williams Stables which they are using during the Opera’s off-season to stage many events. They have sold two properties and are under contract to sell a third at the end of this year which will bring in revenue to renovate other existing properties. Their focus in the next year will be on residential properties; specifically, the Johnson House and the Penrose House. They will continue their new events of the Poetry Fest and the Plain Aire event which have shown success in bringing people to the City which do not normally visit or are not interested in gaming.

Gilpin Arts

President Eric Miller presented the report for Gilpin Arts stating that “This is our best year yet, and I’m not saying that just because I’m president.” He reported that the enthusiasm, support and membership has increased, and they have expanded their events throughout the year. He publicly thanked each of his board members by name and thanked the City of Central for their support. Mayor Fey commented that he is working on bringing an exhibit to Washington Hall from the Kirkland Museum which features Central City (and surrounding area) themed pieces. Fey hopes for the exhibition to be scheduled for Spring of 2021.

Gilpin History

President Deb Wray presented the report for Gilpin History. 2019 was the 50th anniversary of the organization and they have done well, although attendance was down for some of their tours (in part due to JKQ operating in the Teller House opening the building for people to see the famed Face on the Barroom Floor without the benefit of a tour). Wray reported that the Cemetery Crawl in Denver’s Fairmont Cemetery (where many historical Gilpinites are buried) was a huge success and Fairmont asked Gilpin History to come back every year. She reported that they turned Fairmont down because they need to return to the many local historic cemeteries. Wray also reported that the Creepy Crawl brought more than 900 people to the City making it the most attended year for the event. She attributed the increased attendance to advertising efforts in the city of Denver.

More Trash for Central

Director Hoover introduced Resolution 19-35 which would approve an extension of services for the agreement with One Way, Inc. for trash removal in the City. The contract includes an increase of $1.08 per unit (house/pickup). There is an amendment to the proposed resolution increasing the cost to $72,880 resulting from the Opera Houses not being included in the first proposal.

Alderman Aiken moved to approve Resolution 19-35 and was seconded by Alderwoman Johnson. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Engineering a Debate

Director Hoover introduced Resolution 19-36 which would approve an extension of services for the agreement with JVA, Inc. for engineering related services in the City. Hoover commented that JVA has been the primary engineer since he started with the City four years ago. Alderman Hidahl commented that he would like to see a standard time-limited contract that the City would issue an RFP (Request for Proposal) on a regular basis. He believes that the current method of approving services and appropriating money in the budget for those services without a time-limit can make both parties complacent. Creating a standard time-limited agreement would ensure both parties; the City and the contractor, would evaluate the relationship. Mayor Fey was hesitant to agree saying a time-limited proposal could create complacency between evaluation periods. Alderwoman Laratta commented that their annual approval for an extension is their evaluation. Alderman Hidahl countered that using that method would put the City in emergency mode if they had to terminate a contract and find another contractor. The Mayor conceded Alderman Hidahl’s point.

Alderman Aiken moved to approve Resolution 19-36 and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Water for All

Director Beard introduced Resolution 19-37 which would approve an extension of services for an agreement with Deere & Ault Consultants, Inc., C&L Water Solutions, Inc., and W2 Engineers for water themed services for the City.

Without discussion, Alderman Hidahl moved to approve Resolution 19-37 and was seconded by Alderwoman Johnson. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Consulting for the City

Director Rears introduced Resolution 19-38 which would approve an extension of services with Digital Data Services, Inc., Complete Business Systems, Inc., Deon Wolfenberger, and Colorado Code Consulting, LLC. Rears reported that the original amount for Complete Business Systems was negotiated down to $28,500 and amendments were sent to Council that afternoon.

Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve Resolution 19-38 and was seconded by Alderwoman Johnson. The Resolution passed unanimously.

A New Truck!

Fire Chief Gary Allen introduced Resolution 19-39 which would approve the purchase of a new pickup truck for use as an emergency vehicle to replace a 1972 Chevy Blazer. The cost of the truck is $52,112. Manager Miera reported this was funded in the 2019 Budget and is before council because it exceeds the maximum expenditure amount without Council’s approval. Alderwoman Johnson commented that this is an easy decision, “We need to get out of the 90s!”

Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve Resolution 19-39 and was seconded by Alderwoman Johnson. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Council Comments

Alderman Hidahl commented that he has been researching the statutes and laws regarding law enforcement and cannot find where a Sheriff can have jurisdiction in a municipality to enforce the municipalities laws. He is referring to the Clear Creek Sheriff patrolling and enforcing the lower section of the Central City Parkway. Attorney McAskin clarified that the entire length of the Parkway is owned by the City of Central regardless of which county it traverses. McAskin stated he would research the laws and get a legal memo on the topic.

Alderman Hidahl next requested of Staff to bring a resolution extending the funding of the Belvidere Theatre for four more years (referring to a commitment the City made four years ago to appropriate $250 thousand dollars per year for the Belvidere renovation project). He asked Council to voice their approval or dissent in the matter. Mayor Fey did not agree that earmarking money specifically for the Belvidere was a good idea when the City owns several properties that may need those funds. When called to vote, Mayor Fey and Alderwoman Laratta were against the idea and Alderman Aiken and Alderman Hidahl were for it. Alderwoman Johnson had the tie-breaking vote and could not endorse either side. Manager Miera suggested that Staff come up with a compromise that would satisfy all of Council.

Alderwoman Johnson commented that she received a compliment for Public Works regarding the Central City Parkway. Employees at the Sasquatch Convenience Store and gas station (at the base of the Parkway just off Exit 243) told her the Parkway has been better maintained this year.

Mayor Fey commented that he feels “blessed at being a community member.” He stated this is his first year as Mayor and he has learned much from his Council members and the Gilpin community. “Merry Christmas and God bless everyone,” he finished.

Alderwoman Laratta commented she received a message from FedEx that they could not deliver a package because the signs on her road prevented them from coming to her property. Laratta expressed thanks to Director Hoover for installing the signs prohibiting certain vehicles from using Spruce Street.

Alderman Aiken stated that they have accomplished a lot this year and “Happy Holidays.”

Public Forum

Mayor Fey opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to the council on any items not on the agenda. No one chose to address the Council at that time.

Mark your calendars

Mayor Fey adjourned the regular meeting at 8:50 p.m. The next regular Council Meeting will be Tuesday, January 7, 2020.

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