Butterfly Pavilion has a fiscal mountain to climb

Cross Currents
A column by Bill Christopher
Posted 5/21/18

Ever since Butterfly Pavilion officials announced their plans to pursue a larger facility and campus in Broomfield, I have had numerous people ask me when the Butterfly Pavilion will be leaving …

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Butterfly Pavilion has a fiscal mountain to climb

Posted

Ever since Butterfly Pavilion officials announced their plans to pursue a larger facility and campus in Broomfield, I have had numerous people ask me when the Butterfly Pavilion will be leaving Westminster.

So, I sat down with Butterfly Pavilion CEO Patrick Tennyson to find out.

Exciting happenings

Before I provide the punch line to the above question, let me share some other interesting information which Patrick shared with me.

First, he said that attendance at the pavilion continues to grow. The last count is 335,000 on an annual basis. That’s impressive. Who would have guessed when Michael Weissman brought his dream to the City of Westminster that interest in a butterfly and insect center would grow so much?

Second, their Urban Prairies Conservation and Restoration Program is doing well. You may recall I wrote about this program a while back. It involves the City of Westminster and the City and County of Broomfield. Over 42 acres of native grasses restoration work are under way. Now, the City of Brighton will be joining the program with another 50 acres.

Another program which is in the planning stage is working with Extraction Oil and Gas, which is the main oil and gas drilling company in Broomfield. The plan would call for the pavilion to come in after a well is done and restore the site with pollinator-friendly habitat.

In turn, Extraction would not only fund that restoration work, but also provide funding for the Pavilion’s Growing Scientists program which assists underserved youth in Denver and Adams 12 Five Star schools with STEM based education. That sound like a win-win.

A huge mountain to climb

Now, let’s address the ongoing question about the pavilion moving from their long-time Westminster site - the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

Patrick said the organization formally launched their capital campaign in March of this year. To fund the new facility in Broomfield, he estimates that the Butterfly Pavilion will need to raise between $15 and $20 million on its own.

This is separate from any funding from the City and County of Broomfield or the McWhinney development group with which they are working.

He is looking for what he called “transformational gifts” which ensure a project like this becoming a reality. My interpretation of his statement is that they need several $1 million-plus upfront commitments from several “heavy hitters.”

Assuming the money does come in, he projects ground breaking in 2020 and opening the new facility in 2021. First, let me say that I appreciate Patrick’s upfront response to my questions.

Secondly, wow, that is a huge mountain to climb to raise that kind of money!

Hopefully, readers from Westminster and the surrounding area can rest easier now.

Alto Apartments unveiled in south Westminster

The first of what is bound to be several quality housing developments in south Westminster was unveiled on May 10 with a plethora of dignitaries and interested folks.

Alto at Westminster, located on the northwest corner of 71st Avenue and Federal Boulevard, is a mixed-use development consisting of affordable housing units and the offices of Unison Housing Partners (previously known as Adams County Housing Authority).

The 70 apartment units consist of one, two and three bedroom units for “very low and low income” individuals and families.

Monthly rents for one-bedroom units to residents who earn between 30 and 50 percent Area Median Income is between $450-$750. Rents for two bedroom units to residents who earn between 30 and 60 percent median income occupants is between $540-$1,081.

Rents for three bedroom units to residents who earn between 30 and 60 percent median income occupants between $967-$1,176.

We were told all units are occupied at this time. The apartment units are done in quality finishes while tenants have a short walk to catch the B Line commuter rail service to Union Station.

A great example of solid collaboration

Unison Housing Partners demonstrated using high quality construction and sensible floor plans for these affordable units. Alto at Westminster sets a solid standard and tone for others to follow.

This development exemplifies the importance of a collaborative effort to make affordable housing become a reality.

Kudos to Unison Housing Partners, City of Westminster, Colorado Housing Finance Authority and Gorman and Company for making Alto at Westminster such a success. Also, the ongoing support of the Westminster City Council to encourage and support more work-force housing to be built in our community is much appreciated.

Congrats to the graduates

May is graduation month for high school and college seniors. It can be a bittersweet milestone in the lives of students who have worked hard to earn their diploma or degree. You have a big, bright, wonderful world out there to consider your next step in life’s journey.

Make the most of college, a trade school or a stint in the military! Hearty congratulations on completing your academic requirements and graduating. We wish you well!

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