Winter Park May Miss Payment to City

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Denver, CO, Feb. 25--It's unlikely Winter Park Resort's operators will be able to make a scheduled $2.3 million payment to the Denver Parks and Recreation Department this year. According to Winter Park CEO Gary DeFrange, two low-snow years in a row is hurting the resort's ability to make its lease payment.

The Winter Park Recreational Association, which operates the resort, leasespart of Winter Park from Denver. Under the 1994 contract, the resortcompany pays the city $1 million a year plus 3 percent of gross revenues.But the contract allows the resort to miss one payment every five yearsunder certain uncontrollable conditions, such as poor snow cover. The leaseruns until 2078.

A Denver parks department spokesman said the shortfall would affectdepartment projects because the money was budgeted, but city officials arestill hoping Winter Park will be able to make its payment once the seasonhas ended. In the meantime, a panel will be formed to come up with a planfor the parks department in case the payment is missed.