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11/14/2013 ‘Cliffe trustees hear pitch on Entertainment District

At the Westcliffe town hall meeting on Tuesday, November 5, the trustees considered the request to approve establishing an Entertainment District with a common consumption area. Donovan Baggett, owner of SomeWhere Saloon, pitched the proposal.

The Entertainment District is designed to strengthen existing events and create new events and festivals. It is an effort to promote local unity and encourage tourists to visit the towns and ultimately the local establishments.

Whenever revenue increases, the district will be able to assist with the upkeep and future improvements of the downtown area. The district will be voluntary, not mandatory, but will have an application fee and renewal fee every year to Westcliffe paid by the district and not the businesses.

There will be permits offered to the businesses for events if local owners choose to participate.

The district will start an Association consisting of SomeWhere Saloon, Chappy’s Bar and Grill, Sangrita’s, Cliff Lanes, Edwardo’s, and the Feed Store. These establishments have the necessary liquor license required by Colo. State Law.

The events will allow local vendors to sell liquor, and it has also been proposed to hold events on Main Street itself.

The district will begin at Third Street intersection, and go to Adams and a block north to include the Feed Store and the outdoor amphitheater.

"The main reason to start an Entertainment District is to bring business back to Main Street," Baggett said. "We can have outside vendors that showcase local restaurants and shops."

The in-depth proposal broke down the numbers. It addressed worries expressed in previous meetings for the Main Street Initiative, including the crowds brought in by large events. Baggett said that the town can handle the crowds.

"We have 143 hotel rooms," Baggett stated. "Over the Brim is adding three rooms. There are also the RV sites and camp sites."

The Trustees expressed concern over the noise these events would bring. Baggett was prepared to address the issue.

"I think you should initiate an actual noise ordinance," Baggett said. "Right now you have it measured by decibels. Put an actual time on the books. In most towns, that time limit is at 10:30 or 11 p.m."

The trustees unanimously approved the Entertainment District’s establishment, and met the idea with excitement.

"Once again," said Mayor Christy Veltrie, "I would like to commend you for your efforts to help the community."

Baggett later told the Tribune that he has seen Entertainment Districts in several other cities across the country.

"I figured we’d make it work," Baggett said. "I’ve been thinking about this for years, and it has the potential to help everyone. We can have year-round events for a year-round economy."

Getting the Westcliffe Trustees to approve the district’s establishment was the first barrier. The Trustees are set to vote on it again in December.

"The biggest obstacle," Baggett said, "is the noise ordinance. That will be talked about in a public hearing."

One of Baggett’s event ideas would be to set up an ice rink on Main Street. He explained that it would make the town unique, and give something for the kids to do.

"There could even be a little league hockey team," Baggett said.

Baggett also wants to see buses bring people down from Denver and Colorado Springs. He stated that the towns could use the Rotary Van Service to bring people from one event to the next on Main Street. "I’ve lived here for 14 years," Baggett said. "I’ve steadily seen more businesses close. The town becomes a ghost town six months out of the year. We can change that."

-J.E. Ward