(April 15) – The House Agriculture Committee voted unanimously today to approve bipartisan legislation to help turn the National Western Stock Show complex into a year-round destination.
HB15-1344, sponsored by Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, and Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, would spur plans for a new National Western Center with new Colorado State University facilities on the site of the National Western complex in north Denver.
The bill, which is sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, and Pat Steadman, D-Denver, has 31 cosponsors. It envisions a state-CSU partnership to secure lease-purchase agreements for up to $250 million to finance the construction of new CSU facilities at the National Western Center.
“The National Western Center will be good for agriculture education and research, good for our state, good for Denver and good for the residents of the Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods,” Rep. Duran said.
This new hub would advance CSU’s mission to serve agriculture science and agribusiness, which generates $42 billion in economic activity annually in Colorado and employs 173,000 people in the state.
“Colorado State University is pleased to be part of the vision for this new hub of year-round activity that will be an asset to the surrounding communities and the State of Colorado,” said Tony Frank, CSU’s president.
Last month, the City & County of Denver along with the Western Stock Show Association, CSU, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and History Colorado finalized the National Western Center Master Plan, which was unanimously adopted by Denver City Council and strongly supported by the adjacent community’s advisory committee. Implementing the master plan is critical for the long term sustainability and growth of the National Western Stock Show.
The state’s investment would accelerate the completion of the center, which at buildout will cover an estimated 270 acres. Construction of the NWC is expected to generate nearly 4,000 construction jobs and 6,000 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs.
“Denver has set out to forge broad-based partnerships to make the bold vision of the National Western Center a reality,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said. “This bill signals – in a significant way – the state’s partnership in this new agricultural venture, acknowledging the positive impact the center will have on the Front Range, the state and the region.”
“The new National Western Center will be like no other complex in the world,” said Ron Williams, chairman of the National Western board. “HB15-1344 plays an important role in helping advance the vision of the center, and it will secure the future of the National Western Stock Show for the next 100 years.”