The head of Denver’s planning department has been chosen to lead the agency guiding the transformation of the National Western Stock Show grounds into a year-round attraction.

Brad Buchanan, executive director of Denver’s Community Planning and Development department, has been named the sole finalist for the post of chief executive officer of the National Western Center Authority, city officials announced Thursday.

He will be appointed to the position officially after a two-week comment period, per state law.

“As Denver’s planning director, Brad has devoted thousands of hours to building community in big and small ways,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said. “I have no doubt that if selected, he will bring the same passion, inspiration and entrepreneurial spirit to the National Western Center Authority and operate the campus in an innovative and fiscally prudent manner.”

The city, along with the agency that runs the annual winter National Western Stock Show and Colorado State University, is developing the 110-acre stock show site into a 250-acre campus offering indoor and outdoor venues for entertainment, agricultural education programs and other events. Construction of the upgrades is slated to be completed by 2024.

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