December 18, 2014

Mayor Hancock presents bold vision for National Western Center Campus

Denver – Mayor Michael B. Hancock, along with the National Western Center Partners, the Western Stock Show Association, Colorado State University, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and History Colorado, today released a long-range master plan for creating a National Western Center Campus that celebrates Colorado’s western heritage and serves the New West.

The plan envisions a dynamic hub to be built in phases that will combine modern agriculture with western tradition, education with entertainment, and competition with commerce by updating the outdated site, which has served as the home of the Shock Show since its inception. The plan will create new connections and open space for the neighboring communities and attract new visitors from the region and around the world.

The master plan proposes sustainable year-round programming provided by a unique campus that will serve as an international model which will work to benefit the entire community, boost tourism and allow the National Western Stock Show the opportunity to thrive for the next 100 years and beyond.

“We promised a new and better future for this site that clearly holds so much potential. Together with the community and our partners, we have the opportunity to create a New West campus for the Stock Show and the nearby grounds and venues,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “With this master plan, we take another step toward reclaiming access to the South Platte in this area; toward connecting local neighborhoods with new infrastructure, amenities and transportation; and toward research and education that will put Denver in the forefront of global food production for a new age.”

The master plan includes concepts that will attract new tourists and serve the surrounding neighborhoods, making the National Western Center an iconic campus:
• Make the South Platte River healthy, visible and accessible by moving rail lines and creating open space along the banks;
• Activate the campus 365 days a year with programs for students, business people and community members;
• Create new activities and events to strengthen the city’s tourism appeal;
• Provide new pedestrian, bicycle and transit connections through and around the campus to connect it with the surrounding neighborhoods and throughout the city and region; and
• Offer partnership opportunities to increase year-round programming and private development in and around the campus.

Click here to download the National Western Center master plan draft.

Since September 2013, a Citizens Advisory Committee consisting of residents, business and community partners has played an integral role in informing the master plan. The community at-large also contributed through a variety of outreach efforts, and the master plan integrates feedback from some of the nation’s leading facility planners about these types of venues, including those who will be using them.

The National Western Center vision includes the thoughtful integration of concepts from the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea Neighborhood Plans. The Globeville Plan was recently adopted by Denver City Council, and the Elyria-Swansea Neighborhood Plan, currently being reviewed by the public, is expected to be adopted in early 2015.

A market-based feasibility study released in May 2014, which was commissioned by VISIT DENVER, the City and Stock Show, made recommendations for the National Western Stock Show event, the National Western complex facilities, the Denver Coliseum and the Colorado Convention Center. The study provided critical baseline information that led to the master planning process for the National Western complex led by Parsons Brinkerhoff.

“Through this master planning process, we have identified a Center that brings new opportunities to the site, and to the City,” said National Western Stock Show President & CEO Paul Andrews. “We’ll have a competitive edge to attract some of the biggest and best Shows around; drawing in new national and international guests in what will become the true gateway to downtown Denver.”

In addition, Colorado State University’s partnership will position Denver as a leader in areas such as food and agriculture, water, energy, health and the environment, which will be critical as the world’s population continues to grow.
“CSU is pleased to be a part of this new partnership to reimagine the complex,” said Amy Parsons, Vice President for Operations at Colorado State University. “We are excited to work collaboratively to conduct research and educate on food and agriculture, and linkages to water, energy, and health, as a means to address local and global challenges in ways that reflect our Western tradition of innovation. We’re excited to be part of the vision for this new hub of vibrant, year-round activity that will be an asset to the surrounding communities and the State of Colorado.”

Additional quotes from partners:
“The National Western Center master plan lays out an integrated vision that strongly supports the values set forth by Globeville, Elyria and Swansea residents through the neighborhood planning process. Through year-round programming, the plan also creates a campus that is welcoming to tourists and neighborhood residents.” –Councilwoman Judy Montero

“The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is committed to igniting our community’s passion for nature and science. We are pleased that the new vision for the National Western Center calls for the activation of the South Platte River and offers us an opportunity to expand our programming for the community and tourists to enjoy. We look forward to continuing to explore how we can expand our community’s love of nature at the National Western Center.” – George Sparks, President & CEO, The Denver Museum of Nature & Science

“The National Western Stock Show and the site itself, with such icons as the 1909 Arena building, serve as a symbol of the Western Heritage of Colorado. The skills and the perseverance of the rodeo participants, the cattlemen, farmers and ranchers remind us of the hard work and independent spirit of the Colorado agricultural community. It is our pleasure to work with the National Western Center project to insure that these elements are preserved for others to see and better understand the importance of these characteristics of Colorado and the West.” – Ed Nichols, President & CEO, History Colorado


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