That award process would have provided financial support for the development of the Loveland Whitewater Adventure Park.
The City of Loveland recently withdrew from the Colorado Economic Development Commission’s (EDC) Regional Tourism Acts (RTA) award process that would have provided financial support for the development of the Loveland Whitewater Adventure Park. The decision to withdraw comes after several late-stage challenges with private partnerships and project financing.
“Withdrawing the Whitewater Adventure Park from consideration was difficult for all that worked to champion this project for the last six years,” said Northern Colorado Regional Tourism Authority (NCRTA) Chair and Loveland City Council member, John Fogle. “While a project of this nature would provide immense benefit to Northern Colorado, Loveland’s leadership believes that rescinding the state’s financial award is the most prudent choice we can make.”
“We respect the City of Loveland’s decision to withdraw their planned RTA whitewater park project and appreciate the diligence and collaboration they have demonstrated throughout Northern Colorado’s collective RTA award period,” said OEDIT Deputy Director Jeff Kraft. “We are grateful for such thoughtful stewardship of publicly supported projects that guided this process and look forward to working with Loveland in the future.”
In 2015, following city council approval and three years of work on the project, the EDC chose the water park in Loveland as one of five projects across the state to receive the RTA award. Since then, local and regional leaders have worked tirelessly to make the Whitewater Adventure Park and Resort a reality for Loveland. Professional market studies and ongoing due diligence showed the feasibility and large economic impact of a whitewater resort for Loveland and the region.
This summer, property near the Loveland Sports Park in Centerra was selected as the site for the project. A major setback came on July 30 when the City and the State ended their affiliation with Arizona developer P3 Partners. After four years of financing difficulties, Arizona-based developer, P3 Partners had joined with Olympian and engineer Scott Shipley to put forth a new proposal for the project. Both P3 Partners and Shipley worked on a plan that downsized some project components but still met the state’s need of having a kayak park next to the hotel and in the first phase of development.
This summer, the City released a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to secure a new partner, which resulted in proposals from three firms: Stand Rock Partners, famous for developing the Wisconsin Dells Wilderness Hotel and Golf Resort, Water Valley Company, and Johnson Consulting.
During the City’s due diligence process with the selected finalist in late September, it was determined that the firm would be unable to meet the EDC’s definition of substantial commencement of work and the finalist withdrew from the RFEI process on September 24.
While the 2015 city council approved conditional commitment letters in support of future economic incentive packages, the current city council did not have an opportunity to consider a proposal or a final development agreement, which was scheduled for review during the upcoming Oct. 19 city council meeting.
“Although the partnership with our state colleagues has ended, the City is forever grateful to the staff, developers, designers, and community stakeholders who have exhausted every option to bring this unique and extraordinary tourism attraction to Loveland,” said Kelly Jones, the City’s economic development director. “It is with that spirit that the City is continuing to work toward a development that furthers the merits of the Whitewater Adventure Park and the benefit created for residents and visitors of Northern Colorado.”