DDA has numerous projects in the hopper: New committees up and running, setting tasks, making plans

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When Brian Fleer, Woodland Park Downtown Development Authority executive director and director of the city's Office of Economic Development, outlined the authority board's one- and four-year goals, he noted that one of those goals was the formation of certain committees. That goal is being realized with five new committees with input from both board and community members.

At the April 9 authority board meeting, Fleer presented the Office of Economic and Downtown Development: Project Matrix, which includes numerous on-going projects, contact information and some of the tasks involved.

The matrix lists events at Aspen Valley Ranch and information about a possible annexation of part of the ranch property. Part of Sturman Industry's 450-acre property might also one day be included in the Downtown Development Authority district, Fleer said.

Projects include supporting the Woodland Park RE-2 School District, working with emergency service providers on tax issues, creating a campgrounds and retreat survey with help from Realtor Sharon Roshek and expanding the Off Road Vehicle market for outdoor activities on local mixed use trails. Fleer said camps and retreats and outdoor activities each bring in about $1 million. Authority board member Merry Jo Larsen reminded Fleer that the equine trade is also big business in Teller County.

On the subject of affordable housing, Fleer said city councilmember John Schafer is leading the charge on that. He said there are tax credit deals to be worked out for a few projects in the pipeline, including a 42-unit complex called The Willows, and that Sturman is interested in creating entry-level workforce housing, as well.

The committees are also working on getting big project managers to hire more local contractors and subcontractors and to buy building supplies locally. Fleer said it bothers him to see Colorado Springs-based Foxworth-Galbraith trucks delivering supplies in Teller County when there is a Foxworth-Galbraith store in Woodland Park that can deliver the same materials.

As for Woodland Station, Woodland Hardware is still on track to open late this year. The Beer Garden on lot 2 is also on track for a June opening now that contracts are signed. The city has received two grants that it will use to study alternative transportation routes in and around Woodland Park. One of those routes could be a connection between Gold Hill South and Woodland Station that doesn't involve using U.S. 24.

Fleer is also talking to Bill Page about comprehensive redevelopment at Gold Hill South. Both City Market and Discover Goodwill have expressed interest in expanding their operations.

Finally, Fleer said the city will be submitting its application to become a part of the Main Street program in July. The program helps municipalities redevelop their main streets while preserving local historical sites.

The next authority meeting is scheduled at 7:30 a.m. on May 7 at the Woodland Park City Council Chambers at City Hall. The public is welcome to attend.

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