Friday, April 12, 2024

Ownership Over Southern Colorado’s Cuchara Mountain Park Could Be Changing Hands

by Matt
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Ownership and control over southern Colorado’s Cuchara Mountain Park could shift back to the nonprofit Cuchara Foundation following a 2-1 decision by the Huerfano County commissioners.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the foundation initially purchased the closed ski area in 2017, then transferring the property to the county. The initial plan was to create a for-the-public, by-the-public recreation center throughout the year, but the idea of a commercial operator fell apart as privatization concerns grew.

The nonprofit Panadero Ski Corp. has been working to restore the mountain’s chairlift while running uphill operations via snowcat and working to upgrade snowmaking under an agreement with the county. The relationship between the county and Panadero Ski Corp. saw some bumps throughout the process, and, in the meantime, the Cuchara Foundation drafted a letter to the county requesting the property be returned.

The return will likely come with deed restrictions, including that the project be properly maintained and kept open to the public for at least 15 years, regardless of who winds up owning it. In the case that these restrictions be violated, the $219,602 granted to the project by Great Outdoors Colorado will be required to be paid back.

Commissioner Arica Andreatta has called the transfer a terrible decision, and believes that the county would do a much better job at working with private entities and gathering grants. She’s also said that an ever-changing nonprofit board, the Cuchara Foundation being included in her eyes, makes for an inconsistent vision. Treasurer of Panadero Ski Corp Ken Clayton believes that the vision remains unchanged.

I don’t know the people involved in this, and I haven’t sat in on any of their meetings, so I don’t necessarily think I have enough information to form a solid opinion. That said, I think if the nonprofit was fully willing to hand this property over to the county after acquiring it in 2017, their eyes have always been on maintaining it for the public. If they’re asking for it back, I think they should get it back.

Related: Old Mt. Washington Snowcat To Be Restored

Image Credit: Panadero Ski Corporation via Facebook

This post was originally published on this site

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