Five years to the day that the Colorado Economic Development Commission approved public funding for the first two projects in the controversial Regional Tourism Act program, one of them is exceeding expectations for its early efforts to attract new visitors to the state, while no work has begun on the other one.
In fact, commissioners noted those substantial differences Thursday as they praised the efforts of officials connected to the Gaylord Rockies hotel and conference center in Aurora while authorizing a 90-day extension on a multi-faceted Pueblo project that could have had its funding revoked had EDC members not agreed to grant it more time.
Both projects received the nod in May 2012 to keep state-sales-tax funds that are generated over the next 30 years within designated zones and to put the money toward infrastructure and other costs associated with the projects.
The expectation of the RTA program when signed into law by then-Gov. Bill Ritter in 2009 was that it would be used to help pay for projects that will attract a slew of new tourists to Colorado.