For the Central City Raceway?
By David Josselyn
The Central City Council met for a work session on Tuesday, November 5th, to discuss establishing a creative district and hosting a racing rally event.
Creative District in Central City
City Planner Robert Fejeran met with Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) to discuss establishing a creative district in Central City. Designating a creative district would open up additional grants that could be applied for the creative outlets of the town. This might mean having heat in Washington Hall Gallery or enabling the Central City Opera to entertain year round. The creative district designation would necessitate an established boundary. When Mayor Engels asked Fejeran what areas would be designated, Fejeran replied that it would be primarily where businesses are located, but it could always expand later as the town evolves. The creative district designation would not raise taxes for the residents or add fees to the businesses. Furthermore, the designation would not limit the type of businesses within the boundaries. However, there would be considerable time involved applying for grants and coordinating with businesses. With this in mind, Central City will form the non-profit group Cultural Economic Development Association (CEDA) to work with CCI. Adlerman Voorhies asked what the membership cost would be and Fejeran replied that there is no cost for this. Robert Fejeran will form a plan to establish a creative district and present it to Council for their approval before Christmas.
The Parkway as a Raceway?
Ron Douglas and his brother Rick Douglas came to Central City to present a plan to hold an auto rally on the Central City Parkway. The Douglas brothers have organized other race events around the nation and believe that the Parkway is the “perfect road” for a rally. The event is designed to start small the first year and grow over time. The rally is not for formula racers with little space between the engine and the asphalt, but racing enthusiasts that feel the need for speed. Historically as races are run in other areas, the towns “blow up” with tourists. When people visit Colorado, expressed Ron, they don’t want to see the flatlands; they want to see the mountains. This event would entice people to come up to Central that wouldn’t normally venture up here. The proposed race would close the Parkway for a few hours on one day (the first year) during the race, but bring a multitude of people to town. City Manager Alan Lanning asked if this would be a timed event. Ron responded that yes, it wouldn’t be “wheel to wheel,” but a timed event. Ron interjected that they are looking for a family friendly event where people can bring their families and stay up here a couple of days. Alderman Gaines expressed concern about planning a family friendly event, as the hotels in Central cater to adult gamblers, not to families. Mayor Ron Engels spoke up saying he did not want to say this, but there are a lot of family friendly hotel rooms in Black Hawk. Ron Douglas responded by clarifying that when he says family friendly, he doesn’t want discounts for the local strip clubs, but wants to run an event that is good clean fun. He also added that by year two, when The Reserve sees thousands of families up here, they’ll change their policies. Manager Lanning testified that the auto rally’s that used to run in Steamboat Springs, and now the Mustang Roundup brings so many people, you can hardly walk through town. When Lanning queried the Council if they would support this type of event, they agreed that it is worth a shot. Lanning ensured the Council that they would be kept informed of the progress and any issues that may come up needing their approval. Ron Douglas agreed to sit down with Joe Behm and the BID Board to discuss his proposition. The proposed rally would be held the third weekend of August in 2014.
Lawrence Street Progress
Utilities Superintendent Shawn Griffith briefed the Council on the progress of Lawrence Street. He brought a piece of the main water line and a piece of a water tap as show-and-tell. Both pieces appeared to be degraded by time, rusted and clogged. Shawn informed the council that the new water line is in and we expect the service lines completed connected by the end of the week. The project is intended to be done by November 16.