PCDI Discusses Potential Local Impact of Amendment 68


 Members Feel Weak Reporting Shown from
National Papers on S.E. Colorado Business Climate! 

Larry Lusher, PCDI board member, commented on a letter sent to Prowers County Development Incorporated, suggesting Prowers County consider re-establishing horse racing at the Gateway race track in Holly. A newspaper clipping highlighting economic growth attributed to casino gambling and an events center for Dodge City, Kansas was included.  Colorado voters will consider Amendment 68  this November which proposes establishing a Racino, a term for a combination race track and casino in the state.  Television commercials have voiced both pros and cons for the amendment.

Lusher had mentioned the possibility of the Holly racetrack several months ago and stated during the Tuesday meeting, September 30th, that he was involved in the racing during the recent Holly Fair, speaking with members of the racing commission.  He stated, “They feel that if Amendment 68 does not pass in November, that will make it that more difficult to get something started in Holly.”  He added that Holly in not in the running, but areas such as Arapahoe, Pueblo or Grand Junction are under consideration.  “If the amendment does pass, it could be a stepping stone to try to get Holly involved in a racing facility,” he explained.

Board member Aaron Lieker expressed similar views, ”The horse trainers in Holly say they believe if this doesn’t pass they’ll be looking elsewhere to train. They’ll still live in Holly and train, but they’ll probably be traveling more across the country and spending less time in Holly because they think they’ll be farther away.”  Lieker said the trainers feel the extra distances involved if not in Holly, could make their operation unprofitable in general.  Both members believed it would be difficult to get Holly restarted as a racetrack, given the deterioration of the facilities from not being used for years.  Lieker said it used to be a profitable operation.  “The Holly Senior Class used to take in $40,000 over five weekends through their concession sales to finance their class trip.  It was a boost to the whole community,” he told the board.  Lusher added that the recent calcutta took in $15,000 for the Holly Fair Board.

Board members decided to put the real estate listing contract for the Washington Street properties out for bid, as the current contract is expiring. John Marrin stated, “All indications are that the best use of the property is to sell it to an economic developer.”  There has been some mixed interest from local brokers to bid on the listing, but a letter will be sent to all realtors in the area, outlining the need to include a marketing plan for the property with the bid.  Because of expenses associated with Request for Proposals for liability insurance coverage from the single business that responded, members voted to renew PCDI’s coverage with Brase Insurance, with Lawrence Brase abstaining from the vote.

Lance Benninghoff, PCDI Executive Director, told the board, SEBREA will hold a special meeting concerning a marketing strategy for southeast Colorado. “This area has gotten some poor and probably inaccurate publicity from articles that have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post and Pueblo Pulp,” he explained.  Benninghoff said an article was generated from an economic survey of the poorest counties in the country by the Times, which was followed by the Post and the Pulp.  Most of the board members have read one or several of the articles which they believed was not a fair representation of  the business climate in the six county region of the state,  and especially in no way indicative of the character of the general residents of this area.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCityCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEmploymentFeaturedGranadaHollyLamarProwers CountyUtilitiesWiley


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