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Westminster will have four years to figure out a new use for the 11-acre parcel at 104th Avenue and Westminster Boulevard now that the Butterfly Pavilion has decided to move its base of operation to Broomfield.
In a written statement, Westminster City Manager Don Tripp said city officials did what they could to keep the popular zoo for bugs where it is.
“I want to assure people that the city did all it could to meet the needs of the Butterfly Pavilion and keep them in Westminster,” Tripp said. “We know the importance of this facility to our community and the region, and we wanted to keep them here. The Mayor and City Council were very clear to me that we should do everything we could to keep them and provided me with great latitude to offer them a very generous and supportive assistance package.”
That included offering the pavilion space farther south, in the burgeoning Westminster Downtown development along 88th Avenue.
“We put together a competitive proposal that included an exhaustive site selection process, architectural renderings and financial incentives valued in the millions of dollars,” Tripp said . “I think the staff did a remarkable job of preparing a presentation for them that illustrated our joint visions for their future in Westminster.”
It was not meant to be, however. The pavilion’s board issued a statement Sept. 26 saying they will relocate to Broomfields North Park development, a 900 acre mixed-use development west of Interstate 25 and south of Colorado Highway 7. The new location is about 15 miles northwest of the pavilion’s current spot.
“Butterfly Pavilion is launching this expansion to confront and solve global challenges in environmental conservation today and in the future,” President and CEO Patrick Tennyson said. “While education continues to be the foundation of who and what we are, establishing a facility for science and conservation will allow Butterfly Pavilion to lead the finest research, restoration, reintroduction and reestablishment of invertebrate species and their habitats world-wide - right here from Colorado.”
At 60,000 square feet, the expanded project would be twice as large as it is now. The expanded facility should include larger exhibits, including a bigger butterfly rain forest, in addition to new laboratory and research space focused on invertebrate conservation efforts, especially on efforts aimed at preserving dragonfly, firefly and Colorado butterflies.
The goal would be to make it an international hub for research and understanding about insects.
The Butterfly Pavilion opened the current facility on an 11-acre Westminster campus in 1995. It currently hosts an estimated 300,000 guests each year.
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