State discusses buying Cameo from Xcel

The possibility that the state could purchase the old Cameo generating station property in DeBeque Canyon is a bit less of a long shot now that Gov. John Hickenlooper and Xcel Energy officials have discussed it.

Hickenlooper and Xcel officials talked about Cameo last week, “and they made it clear that if we are in a position to pay fair-market value, it’s something they are willing to talk to us about,” Mike King, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Sentinel.

Hickenlooper wrote Monday to David Eves, Xcel president and CEO, promising to work on the idea.

“Providing new and expanded opportunities for safe and responsible use of firearms and archery equipment is a priority for the state of Colorado and my staff and I look forward to continuing to work with Xcel Energy to explore the exciting opportunities that the Cameo property provides,” Hickenlooper wrote.

The governor broached the idea with Xcel about a year ago and it “just perked along” until last week’s discussion, King said.

Acquiring the Cameo property for a shooting range would go a long way toward achieving a Hickenlooper objective of more safe shooting ranges, King said.

Finding and developing shooting ranges is a Hickenlooper priority, King said, noting that regional directors in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife have the development of ranges as performance goals.

The Cameo site, which encompasses 1,200 acres, is large enough to accommodate a wide variety of shooting experiences, from large-bore rifles to shotguns to pistols, sporting clays and so on.

“We could do a lot of interesting things with this site,” King said. “We may be able to put a big dent in the problem of how to provide safe places in the Grand Valley to shoot.”

The town of Palisade and other organizations have voiced support for the idea of using Cameo for a shooting range and in his letter to Xcel, Hickenlooper stressed the economic potential of the project, which would be operated by a private entity.

“This proposed complex will provide a significant economic benefit to many western Colorado communities,” Hickenlooper said. “Similar facilities in neighboring states have demonstrated the success of this development model and have become national destinations for recreational shooters.”


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Oh boy! Clearly Hickenlooper wants to be reelected, and he wants Republicans from the Western Slope on board. A little birdie has been whispering in my ear about a shooting range at Cameo, and suggested that there are some individuals who stand to gain financially if this transaction goes forward. Now, I’m curious about the rest of the story. Where’s Paul Harvey when you need him?

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