Businesses hope to force Nor’wood-controlled board to operate transparently

Colorado Springs Independent: Disgruntled business owners in northern Colorado Springs will get their chance in court July 30 to shake loose documents that could explain where millions of dollars in current and future bond funding are being spent. The Interquest North Business Improvement District (INBID) board, which oversees commercial development contracted to the Nor’wood Development Group — the largest developer in the region — is accused by two businesses in the district of not releasing financial information under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), despite numerous records requests in the last year.

The INBID was organized in 2004 and is made up of more than 100 acres of commercial property and almost two dozen businesses between I-25 and Voyager Parkway. The board that oversees the business improvement district’s operations and development has five members, all either owners or employees of Nor’wood. They include David Jenkins and his son Chris, who own and operate Nor’wood, meaning the board is under the control of the private development company. 

The case highlights that Business Improvement District boards must comply with open records laws even when a developer controls the board. Dozens of these boards in the region control special districts along with millions of dollars in taxes that, without transparency, the public is unable to monitor. Concerns center on Scheels All Sports which already received millions in city sales tax subsidies, and the district’s attempt to give the store a pass on property taxes that support the district’s infrastructure. BIDs are created to help maintain and pay the costs of developing infrastructure in commercial areas.

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