Yesterday the Commerce City Urban Renewal Authority announced they'd purchased Mile High Greyhound Park, a 1949-era dog track, for $3.3 million, according to the Denver Business Journal.
There hasn't been an official dog race there since 2008, but the city hopes to use the 65-acre site as a mixed-use development. The site is also within Colorado's 16 Enterprise Zones, meaning businesses that develop there qualify for tax credits. A 9News report says that the track is occasionally used for off-track betting, but is usually vacant.
“For more than 60 years, the Mile High Greyhound Park was a major landmark for Commerce City. As a life-long resident, I remember when this location was overflowing with visitors from near and far,” Urban Renewal Authority Vice Chair and Mayor Pro Tem Tracey Snyder said. “The URA encourages all residents and businesses to engage in the process, because we have a unique chance to make this area into something that will last a lifetime, an area that will redefine Commerce City for generations to come.”
The city plans to tear down the Mile High Greyhound Park Dog Track to make encourage new development, including housing.
“One of the city’s goals is to invest in our own future,” Urban Renewal Authority Chairman and Mayor Paul Natale said in a statement. “Redeveloping the dog track has long been a priority and when the property came within reach, we jumped at the opportunity. It’s exciting to know the URA is going to work alongside residents and prospective businesses to redefine this key area in Commerce City," Natale said.
According to 2010 U.S. Census data, Commerce City is the fourth fastest-growing in the state. It's population more than doubled in the last decade, and Hispanics make up 47 percent of the city's population.
However, the city may need more than a dog track site to attract new business, since it has long been dubbed "The Stinky City" as a largely industrial area and home to old manufacturer of chemical weapons, Rocky Mountain Arsenal. The area has since become a National Wildlife Refuge destination after the EPA made the site a giant cleanup project.
“This will be a very important addition to the city’s economic base,” said Jerry Flannery, city manager and URA’s executive director. “This is an opportunity for us to control the destiny of the area.”
A final plan for development of the site is expected in May, according to a report by CBS4 Denver.