Proof of viability key to making Yampa Valley Adventure Center a reality |

Proof of viability key to making Yampa Valley Adventure Center a reality

Dan England
For the Craig Press

Frank Moe will make a presentation to a new Urban Renewal Authority on the third week in May that could determine the future of his Colorado Great Outdoors Experience and Hall of Fame.

The project still carries the name Yampa Valley Adventure Center, but Moe renamed the nonprofit portion of the project to focus his efforts on getting that part constructed or at least well underway. The nonprofit would honor those responsible for bringing the outdoors to life as well as help patrons appreciate what Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties have to offer.

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 envisions will bring jobs and tourism to the area. (Joshua Carney / Craig Press)

Eventually, the hope is that the center would attract stuff like an indoor archery range and pro shop; an indoor climbing wall; a Top Swing and mini golf suite; a chocolate factory and ice cream store along with other retail and restaurant business.

“It will be easier to attract the other tenants once they know the nonprofit is there,” Moe said. “That’s the draw.”

Moe has not purchased the Centennial Mall, the location of the project, but he has signed his intent to do so, and he is committed to it, he said, because he’s put earnest money down. He’d lose that money — enough to buy a nice car — if he pulls out. He has a year to close on the mall, and he said he doesn’t believe it will take that long to close.

The next step is approaching the authority and getting them to approve his project.

The authority, made up of the taxing entities in the district, include the city of Craig, Moffat County and the fire department, and they would agree to defer the tax they would earn from Moe’s project with the understand that he would eventually pay it back once the center is making the money to cover the tax bill.

Approval shouldn’t be too hard, given that the authority was formed in part to help make his project happen. The city restated that fact in a letter of support written on April 1 by Craig City Manager Peter Brixius to show the city’s support and “ensure he is provided with the best support possible to make his dynamic vision a reality.”

If the authority accepts his project, they would determine how much tax they can defer and when they’d expect to get it back. To convince them, Moe will present conceptual drawings and a business plan on how he hopes to fund the project.

According to a new website on the project, the nonprofit would need to raise $4.5 million to build it. Moe said when he issued a press release on it that he thought it could be finished in 18 months. That timeline has likely been extended. For now, he just needs to prove to the authority it can be done.

“I need to prove that it’s viable,” Moe said, “but I also need the authority to make it viable.”

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