Council offers no obstacle to Equestrian Center sale to Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo

       Colorado Springs City Council appears ready to approve the sale of the Penrose Equestrian Center to the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Foundation.
       Support came from several council members, including Mayor Lionel Rivera and Westsider Tom Gallagher, at a joint city/county meeting Dec. 1 in the downtown County Office Building. A few questions were raised, but no opposition.
       “I think it's a great arrangement,” Rivera said. He and Gallagher both lauded the resulting boost to the Equestrian Center as well as to the longstanding charitable efforts by the volunteer Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo group.
       The issue will formally go before council at its meeting Tuesday, Dec. 14.
       Rob Alexander, vice president of the foundation, stressed the amount of work that must be done to take over the center, as planned, by the first of the year. “It would help us to get approval as soon as possible,” he told the assemblage.
       Council needs to approve the sale - already OK'd by county commissioners - because of wording in the 1999 transfer agreement in which the county took over the center from the city.
       The center is on Rio Grande Street between 8th and 21st streets.
       The approximate amount of land in the deal will be 61 acres, according to County Attorney William Louis. It will include the developed land north of Bear Creek, plus the parking lot on the north side of Rio Grande Street.
       The remaining 100 acres of what has been Equestrian Center property will be retained by County Parks as parks/open space, according to County Administrator Terry Harris.
       The actual sale price will be $10, with the sale stipulation that $2 million be spent on the center in capital improvements.
       Pikes Peak or Bust stepped forward this fall with the offer to take over the center. The operation has reportedly been costing the county more than $300,000 annually in overall expenditures, despite earnings from a wide variety of entities that rent the facilities during the year.
       Alexander has said he believes that with the necessary building upgrades and a private-enterprise approach to management, the center will appeal to more potential users and eventually become profitable.
       The center also has a sentimental appeal to the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, with the popular annual event having been held at Penrose Stadium since World II before moving to the indoor World Arena the past three years. The plan is to have the '05 Pikes Peak or Bust event at the Equestrian Center again.

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