A proposal to hire a professional planner as well as a marketing expert to spearhead development in Woodland Station fell flat among board members of the Woodland Park Downtown Development Authority.
“I’ve seen us move forward to a certain degree and then the proposals tend to fizzle out,” said Al Born, secretary of the DDA, speaking at the meeting Jan. 7. “The problem with past proposals from developers is that, for them, stumbling blocks tend to defeat the proposals. With professionals to handle the details the proposals would be a complete package.”
In the past, marketing studies have been a “lot of fluff” that doesn’t apply to Woodland Station, he added. Born cited the need for professional help when it comes to addressing issues such as fire suppression, drainage and electrical.
“I would like this board to recognize that we do not have the expertise or the volunteer time to properly define a property leading to a marketable piece,” Born said. “The planner can then work through the various regulatory bodies to help facilitate where there are bumps in the road.”
However, with an expected proposal for development by George Christian and Mike Williams, board members were hesitant to change course. “I feel we’re on the cusp of development so we might be jumping the gun a little bit,” said DDA member Jerry Good. “Let’s give it a little bit of time to see how this plays out.”
Born wasn’t impressed. “I have not seen an application for that particular project. We’ve had too much talk for the last 15 years. I’m looking for some action,” he said.
Wilson highlighted the expertise of the city’s planning director, Sally Riley. “When anybody goes to her, she always has the answer so why would we hire somebody else who doesn’t have the expertise?” she said.
The main stumbling block is the cost of the infrastructure, said Noel Sawyer, city council liaison to the DDA. “So maybe we have to look at the DDA and the city being part of the infrastructure,” Sawyer said.
DDA member Elijah Murphy was all for the wait-and-see option. “Our number one goal this year is to get that developer in here and make it happen,” he said.