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Wellness Center Could Mark ‘Turning Point’ For Estes Economy

Gov. Hickenlooper greets Grand Heritage Hotel Group President John Cullen. Hickenlooper is flanked by Brian Herwig (left), CEO of Estes Park Medical Center and Bill Pinkham (right), Estes Park’s Mayor.";

Governor John Hickenlooper was on hand Wednesday for the ground breaking of a new $30 million public private project between Grand Heritage Hotel Group — owner of the Stanley Hotel — and the Estes Park Medical Center.

The duo will build a 15,000 square foot facility focused on physical fitness, nutrition, weight loss, sleep, stress and quality of life with an adjacent 50-room boutique hotel. The Wellness Center will be counseled by the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.

“I think it’s an ongoing trend in that people are looking for something more than a spa and less than a hospital,” said Heritage President John Cullen. “The idea that you can go away from a hotel vacation healthier than when you came is a pretty good idea.”

Cullen purchased public land right next to the Stanley Hotel for the project for $1.3 million, a sale that required approval from Estes Park voters April 1.

Credit Grace Hood / KUNC

The sale brought a sigh of relief to Estes Park Mayor Bill Pinkham, who said Estes Park has been more than $1 million in the hole since September’s floods.

“[We were] trying to figure out we were going to come up with the money. So now we have the dollars,” he said.

When it’s up and running, the project is expected to produce an estimated 70 new full-time jobs in Estes Park with millions in new revenue expected.

“It’s a vote for the future, it’s a vote for sustainable year-round economy, it’s a vote for jobs,” said Pinkham. “And it’s something a few years from now people will look back and say this was a turning point for our community.”

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