Economic growth and increased real estate demand have been common themes in Woodland Park for several years, and local officials say they show no signs of slowing down. Although increased economic prosperity has been welcome in the small mountain town, too much growth in the near future could present a problem due to the city’s limited housing inventory and water supply.
“Woodland Park does have a finite amount of development that will occur based on our water,” said Sally Riley, the city’s planning director. “We have been watching our land use and vacant lot supply. … Our water supply will accommodate 12,600 people.”
Riley, who said Woodland Park, with about 7,200 residents as of 2014, is at about 60 percent build-out, added that the city has options for obtaining additional water if rapid growth continues.
The city has recently seen the addition of a Tractor Supply Co. retailer and a new aquatics center that has long been in the works. Established businesses, like Woodland Hardware and the local Goodwill, are moving to newly constructed buildings. And the increase in real estate activity and construction of new apartments, like the Trail Ridge development on the south end of town, have been exciting for the community, said Debbie Miller, president of the Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce.
“We have certainly seen growth in our sales tax numbers over the last several years,” Miller said. “Most of our other businesses have stayed stable.”
A number of new small businesses have popped up around the city in recent years, including the Woodland Butcher Block and Centennial State Paint Center.
“It’s a smaller market that is growing, and it’s pretty dynamic. It’s quite affluent,” said Matt Gantner, co-owner of Centennial State Paint Center. “With our business, in larger markets it is difficult for an independent owner to compete with corporate stores. Generally, even if there are corporate stores in smaller markets,[the markets] still tend to be favorable to smaller businesses.”
Centennial State Paint Center opened June 26, and Gantner is confident Woodland Park will be a successful place to operate.
“For the size of the city, it is growing quite well,” he said. “At this elevation the elements are very hard on people’s homes, so they need to paint them often, and we’re here for that.”
The Planning and Building Department has also seen an increase in requests and questions regarding potential new businesses and projects in the city, Riley said.
“We get inquiries quite frequently for new businesses and projects,” she said. “We are processing a couple of projects in Woodland Park and we also have a few projects under construction.”
Some projects stand out, Riley said, including an automated car wash to be located adjacent to the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center. It will not only bring more business but will improve traffic flow as well, she said.
“The owner is also going to complete a small segment of Pikes Peak Avenue which will connect with [U.S.] Highway 24,” Riley said. “It was an opportunity identified in our traffic analysis … how to disperse traffic within Woodland Park to make it less concentrated on Highway 24.”
The other projects are a new 63-room hotel, a Wyndham project, that would be located north of the Country Lodge, as well as a possible 13,222-square-foot Natural Grocers.
Woodland Park is also working on projects to address affordable housing. The Clock Tower Condominiums is a Habitat for Humanity project that will house nine families. The other is a 24-unit apartment complex located off Colorado Highway 67, which is subsidized through tax credits.
Due to rapid growth, the Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce has offered training to help local businesses succeed in the booming market.
“We’re trying to help our current businesses look at different types of training to stay on the cutting edge — like digital marketing, grant writing and across-the-board kinds of training that employers will need to stay on top of their game,” Miller said. “We believe it will be successful.”