Aurora's proposed $800 million, Western-themed hotel and entertainment complex has been the subject of much scrutiny recently. First there was the fear of Denver losing the National Western Stock Show, then there was intrigue regarding questionable land subsidies for the complex, followed readily by political wrangling on leases, who would pay for what, and a hilarious Dave Perry column on Aurora's 'western themed Love Boat.'
In the midst of this hand-wringing, finger-pointing befuddlement, we applaud Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher for taking a clear stance. A press release titled "Not On My Watch" lays out in no uncertain terms Gallagher's wariness "to precipitously make a move, any move, without regard to the consequences," particularly when "other viable options ... are not being explored."
Gallagher makes an impassioned argument that the "'stock show horses are operating with their blinders on" in a deal "sold down the river because of over-arching greed."While stock show officials maintain the current location near Interstate 70 and Brighton Boulevard is too small and poorly maintained, leaving Aurora's soon-to-be-built complex as the only option, Gallagher fires back:
when there was a viable plan to build the Gaylord complex in Commerce City and relocate the Stock Show to adjacent land in Denver -- a deal that would benefit Commerce City and keep the Stock Show in Denver - the deal was nixed ... in order to provide even more monetary benefit to Gaylord; to line the pockets of a large corporation with even more taxpayer dollars.
He continues, "Do I sound angry? You [sic] damn right I am."
At the outset of the Gaylord Western Complex announcement, Aurora Mayor Ed Tauer expected the project to "bring thousands of new visitors to Colorado" in addition to an estimated $5 billion inflow for the city over 30 years.
Moving the stock show to Aurora, however, requires a serious nod of approval from Denver officials as the show still has 29 years on its lease with the city.
The strength of Gallagher's comments may be attributed to this being his third and final term. Other officials, including Denver Mayor Hancock, have been more politically neutral, pledging a "win-win-win solution" acceptable to all, according to the Denver Post.WATCH a video on the stock show's history and its Denver heritage: