Gaylord hotel project: Meet the locals in love with it (and one guy against it)
Norton is a high-profile guy. A former Colorado Senate president, he served eight years as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation under Governor Bill Owens and is in his second term as mayor of Greeley -- which is an entire hour north of Denver International Airport, near which the Gaylord hotel would be located.
So why does he care so much? "It's about jobs," Norton told the commission. He, like other speakers, emphasized that the Gaylord would bring numerous construction and hospitality jobs to Colorado, and he added that having a world-class hotel and convention center next to the airport could draw additional airlines to DIA. The Gaylord, he said, "will bring in a new tax base, which we so desperately need."
President, Adams County Economic Development
In addition to his day job with Adams County, Gore serves on the Economic Development Council of Colorado, Progressive 15 and the Adams County Education Consortium.
Aurora is partly located in Adams County, and Gore called the project's potential impact "beyond significant." When commission member and former Denver mayor Wellington Webb asked if Gore could see anything wrong with Gaylord's proposal, Gore said no. He called the project a once-in-a-lifetime "multiplier;" that is, once its built, it will draw other businesses that want to be located around it.
Arapahoe County Commissioner
The Aurora Chamber of Commerce's 2011 Man of the Year, Bockenfeld was described by those honoring him as "the go-to guy for his organization on a broad range of issues including water, transportation and airport, as well as government finance and government performance management."
While that list doesn't include tourism -- or fun, for that matter -- Bockenfeld sang the Gaylord project's praises yesterday. Even though the hotel would not be in his district, Bockenfeld said he's sure his area would be positively impacted. The hotel "is going to give the Denver market curb appeal," he said, and "leave a substantial impression that Denver is a world-class market."
Black Hawk City Manager
Lewis is fairly new to the gamblin' town of Black Hawk; he previously served as the city manager of Salida. Yesterday, he told the commission that the Black Hawk city council voted in February to support the Gaylord project, whose future guests they hope will drive an hour west to try their luck in Black Hawk's casinos. "We have one thing," he said. "We think we do it well."
President, Associated General Contractors of Colorado
AGC of Colorado represents 350 construction-related firms. Unsurprisingly, Gifford testified about the boon Gaylord would provide to the state's construction industry. "Commercial construction creates great-paying jobs," he said. He spoke about the high rate of unemployed construction workers and added that, "We want to see our industry brought back to health."
Flip the page to see who else testified for -- and against -- Gaylord.