Plans scrapped for Yampa Valley Adventure Center after mall sale effort ends |

Plans scrapped for Yampa Valley Adventure Center after mall sale effort ends

A view from inside the Centennial Mall in Craig. The mall is the proposed location for the Yampa Valley Adventure Center, a project that Frank Moe had envisioned would bring jobs and tourism to the area. Instead, the mall purchase will not go through.

Plans for the Yampa Valley Adventure Center and Colorado Great Outdoors Experience Museum & Hall of Fame — a project that Frank and Kerry Moe had been working to install in the old Centennial Mall — have officially been terminated.

“After analysis of the most recent business modeling and financial projections presented to me and because of family health reasons, I have made the difficult decision to terminate my efforts to develop the Yampa Valley Adventure Center and Colorado Great Outdoors Experience Museum & Hall of Fame,” Frank Moe wrote in an email to the Craig Press.

The mall’s location was covered by the newly formed Craig Urban Renewal Authority’s area of concern — part of Urban Renewal Area 1, which also covered areas just north and south of the building. There are two renewal areas — the other encompasses most of downtown — which create the potential for property owners in those areas to apply for tax increment financing to help improve their property.

Moe’s Adventure Center was the first project approved by the CURA to receive tax increment financing, almost $7.7 million, back in October of 2021. It was approved 8-2 by the board.

Tax increment financing does not raise taxes, and the Moes did not receive the $7.7 million up front. Instead, increment financing invests the increase in future property tax revenue that is anticipated from the improvement of the property into the improvement itself. The CURA board includes all seven Craig city council members and representatives from each of the four additional taxing districts that agreed to participate in the urban renewal authority: the county, fire district, community college district and school district.

CURA does not have the authority to increase a tax rate on properties in the urban renewal areas. If improvements on adjacent properties cause a property to be assessed at a higher value, that is when their property taxes may go up — not as a result of a decision made by the URA. The URA invests the amount of property tax that will be collected after a property is improved and the assessed value is increased into the development of the improvement itself.

In the agreement, the Moes received a redevelopment and reimbursement agreement, which would have allowed the Moes to secure a private loan from a local bank, using the financing agreement as collateral. Then, as milestones are reached by the project, the CURA would have awarded portions of the $7,674,235 in tax increment financing to the project.

Moe, a former county commissioner, had been working toward purchasing the mall since October, 2020. Before termination, the planned project to become a large-scale adventure center, including outdoors-focused retail and exhibits about local landscapes and a museum.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Moe said he couldn’t comment any further than the emailed statement on detailed reasons for backing out of the sale, nor potential future plans for the Adventure Center or the mall.

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