Members of the Delta Urban Renewal Authority met May 22 to discuss an intriguing dilemma. A buyer has expressed interest in the parcel of land previously designated for a hotel. In response, an adjoining landowner was approached by DURA staff, and has identified one of his parcels as a more attractive location for the hotel. He also proposed exchanging some of his land for city land being held for future recreational development.
At a previous meeting Scott Schaible, local resident and entrepreneur, shared his conviction that an indoor/outdoor water park would draw more visitors to Delta. Schaible was present May 22 to continue encouraging the DURA board to develop the water park, not just a hotel.
The discussion continued with DURA commissioners bringing up numerous possibilities for what could be realized for the citizens of Delta if one of many options they discussed were to become a reality.
Ron Austin, chairman of the DURA board, advocated for the water park, saying it is a way to generate revenue for community activities without relying on taxpayer money. He recommended face-to-face negotiations with private investors.
Austin said this is the first time the city has had such an opportunity. "Let's have the fortitude to move forward promptly. This opportunity won't ever happen again," he said.
The most pressing question for the board was whether it should revise the request for proposal that originally addressed bringing a hotel to Delta.
Caitlin Quander, DURA attorney, attending the meeting by Skype, said that DURA could revise the RFP, and she advised keeping response on a tight timeline; too much delay and the hotel developer may walk away.
Adam Hughes, Better City consultant, participated by telephone and told the board that activating the river corridor would activate the population base and attract outfitting services, rentals, boutiques, and create a resort area along the Gunnison River. In 10 to 20 years there would be more use and demand would increase.
Tom Huerkamp said he saw no reason not to throw the revised RFP wide open. Don Suppes agreed, and said that the RFP should be open to whoever is interested to provide their conceptual plan and propose whatever they want to develop.
Suppes cautioned that anyone submitting a proposal should consider its connection with existing businesses in the area, as an example, the Tru Vu Drive-in.
Huerkamp moved that the board consider reissuing the RFT. Christopher Ryan seconded the motion. The motion was amended to protect current businesses and passed unanimously.
A presentation about the water park, which will serve as preliminary to a feasibility study, was made during a Delta City Council work session May 29.