Loveland's Independent News Source
Council Votes To Divert Flood Aid To
Promote McWhinney's African Art Collection
Loveland, August 1, 2017

Loveland's City Council will vote tonight (second reading) on a plan to divert CDBG (Community
Development Block Grant) monies provided by the Federal Government to assist victims of the
September 9, 2013 floods to instead promote McWhinney's African Art collection in Centerra.   

The federal flood relief funding stems from
a 2013 colloquy by then Congressman Cory Gardner
to seek support for continuing relief funding from impacts that would exceed the normal
emergency disaster relief budgets.

According to Colorado's Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) that manages those grants today,

Colorado business and property owners were hard hit by the 2013 floods. In the canyons,
floodwaters washed away motels and cabins, restaurants and stores. In other places retail
and commercial establishments suffered extensive damage or revenue losses. Farther east,
farmers lost their crops and oil wells were damaged or shut down. CDBG-DR economic
recovery programs address these impacts.

On July 5, 2017 Loveland's 9 member City Council approved a request 8-0 (Councilman Troy
Krenning was absent) upon first reading to access community marketing funds to remove snow
and conduct a light show in Ch
apungu Park each December using city funds.  The proposed
project is an annual event named the Winter Wonderlights Event for an annual cost of

Loveland's City Council will appropriate the funds first from transient occupancy taxes and later
reimburse that account $100,000 when the flood disaster relief funds are received by the city
later this year.

Chapungu Park Back Story

Chapungu Park sits in a 27 acre drainage basin east of I-25 and the Promenade Shops at
Centerra featuring some 80 contemporary art pieces acquired from African Art Promotions inc.   
The company's principle is a white, Rhodesian born art dealer named Roy Guthrie.  In 2005
paid over half a million dollars for a home in Berthoud where he resided until 2013
while working as Centerra Metro District's Park Manager.   

As described in a 2007 press release, McWhinney had big ambitions for the park and future
development opportunities they would create around it.

“Positioned between the Promenade Shops and the future Grand Station at Centerra,
Chapungu Sculpture Park will be a refuge of calm and contemplation within Centerra, and
ultimately, as the largest art center devoted to African artists in the United States,” said Rocky
Scott, President of Centerra, McWhinney.

Guthrie also owned the original "Chapungu Arts Gallery" in Harare, Zimbabwe (formerly
Rhodesia) since the 1980's.  McWhinney's interest in this unusual art form couldn't have come
at a better time for Guthrie.  Zimbabwe's "Financial Gazette"
published a story in August of
2014 stating,

"When the financial woes of the 80s and 90s set in, the village was not spared creating
challenges for the [Chapungu] centre. The same woes touched the dealers, too, sending
Guthrie into a brief involuntary exile."

Foreclosures and Art Liquidations in US and Africa

Grand Station was never built east of the park and in 2009 creditors took back the Promenade
Shops at Centerra from McWhinney and their partner to sell at a foreclosure auction for a
fraction of what Loveland taxpayers and McWhinney creditors invested in the project.  
McWhinney and their partner continued fighting over the foreclosure for another three years.

As it turns out, Chad and Troy McWhinney have fairly unique taste in contemporary art as the
expected interest in Chapungu carved statues never really materialized in the United States.  
Once most of the stone carvings were acquired for Chapungu Park, the original Chapungu Art
Galleries were forced into a liquidation sale by the Zimbabwe government to pay an estimated
$150,000 in unpaid wages to the artists and employees
in 2012 according to a local newspaper.

There also exists a 35-year agreement between the Centerra Metro Districts and Guthrie's
company African Art Promotions to display Chapungu art pieces which McWhinney refers to as a
partnership" for Chapungu Park.  Whether Centerra taxpayers are continuing to fund that
agreement we don't know since the document has never been made public to the best of our
knowledge.    Guthrie's Colorado company, which is party to the agreement, has been
in Colorado state records since 2014.  Guthrie and his wife sold their home in Berthoud and
returned to Harare, Zimbabwe in 2013.  Centerra's 2015 financial statements reflect a
$147,000 annual expense for Chapungu Park but doesn't provide anymore detail.

Despite constant references to Chapungu Park as the McWhinney brothers' contribution to the
Loveland art scene by local news outlets, a 2006 press release by McWhinney indicates Centerra
Metro District public dollars were accessed by McWhinney to reimburse themselves for
developing the park and acquiring the stone statues.  Centerra's unpaid debt now stands at over
$186 million dollars.

It is ironic that the original Chapungu gallery bankrupted after failing to pay the African artists
$150,000 in back wages when that is the same amount the City of Loveland is diverting from
federal funds appropriated for victims of Colorado's 2013 flood to promote the African art in an
annual "
Winter Wonderlights" display.  McWhinney is hoping to continue developing properties
east of Chapungu Park so will likely continue using their influence over Loveland's City Council
to subsidize events that draw attention towards the undeveloped areas of Centerra they still
From: "Kraft - OEDIT, Jeff" <>
Date: July 22, 2017 at 1:23:41 PM MDT
To: "Kraft - OEDIT, Jeff" <>
Subject: Re: Thank You for Your Emails about
Loveland Marketing Grant


At the State of Colorado we have received several
email inquiries regarding the grant awarded to
Visit Loveland from the Disaster Recovery
Tourism Marketing Grant Program.  Thank you for
reaching out with feedback, concerns, comments,
questions and suggestions which I will address in
this email.

The floods of September 2013 devastated much
of northern Colorado, and our congressional
delegation worked with state and federal leaders
to appropriate funds for disaster recovery.  
Because tourism is a key sector of the Colorado
economy, a portion of the funding was directed to
revitalize regional tourism and let visitors know we
are open for business.  The Office of Economic
Development and International Trade (OEDIT)
was tasked with administering the Tourism
Marketing Grant Program in accordance with
federal regulations, with program guidelines
available at https://www.colorado.

The second round of funding received twelve
applications for funding from disaster impacted
areas around Colorado.  A selection committee
comprised of representatives from Governor
Hickenlooper’s Recovery Office, the Department
of Local Affairs (DOLA), the Colorado Tourism
Office, and the Community Development Block
Grant Disaster Recovery program administrators
at OEDIT conducted a robust multi-stage

Visit Loveland’s proposal, the only application
received from any entity associated with the City
of Loveland, was approved based on the quality
of their proposal, the area’s reliance on tourism
and visitors,
disaster impact, the eligibility of the
applicant, and community support including
matching funds.  The application met these pre-
established criteria developed based on public
comment, federal rules and learnings from the
first round of tourism disaster grants which
Loveland did not apply for or receive.

Our assessment is that these grants will be an
important stimulus to help Loveland and the
Northern Colorado region recover from past and
ongoing impacts from the 2013 floods and their

Specifically, Winter Wonderlights, the primary
marketing event in the proposal, was designed to
increase destination travel to Loveland from
Colorado (most tourists in Colorado come from
Colorado).  This event will be new to Loveland,
and the Centerra location was easily accessible
and visible from I-25 and would attract visitors to
the Highway 34 corridor which is impact by
ongoing construction and closure issues.

Furthermore, the venue offered the prerequisites
of space, parking, electrical, etc.   The committee
was confident in the ability of Visit Loveland to
ensure the success of this event due to the City of
Loveland’s history of outstanding activities like the
Fire & Ice Festival, Corn Roast, Cherry Pie
Festival and several arts related programs, many
of which take place in downtown Loveland.  The
proposal also included a Highway 34 Grand
Opening Celebration in conjunction with Estes
Park in May 2018.

Some emails we received referenced businesses
damaged by the flood.  OEDIT also administers
the Business Grant Program which, I want to
emphasize, is still accepting applications for
businesses that lost revenue due to the disaster.  
The program guidelines and an application are
available at https://www.colorado.
grantsloans.  The Disaster Recovery Counselor
for Larimer County, Michael Haughey, has been in
touch with the Loveland Chamber of Commerce
and contacted many Loveland businesses
offering his assistance in obtaining a grant.  He
can be reached at 970-581-4958 or  

Many of the email questions we received sited
sales tax and property issues that must be
resolved at the city level.  Visit Loveland produced
a FAQ fact sheet that addresses many of these
issues in more detail (available at http://www.  Our mission was to fund
projects that promote regional tourism and benefit
not just a neighborhood or district, but businesses
and communities throughout the northern
Colorado region.  

After a thorough review of the selection criteria,
evaluation process, the Visit Loveland proposal
and your input, we are continuing to fund the
project at the $100,000 level as submitted.
Our office will be engaging in ongoing dialogue
with the local grant administration team in
Loveland to help them refine their budget and
program to ensure maximum benefit.  

If you do have more questions or suggestions
about the specifics of the proposal being funded,
after reviewing FAQ sheet cited above, I
encourage you to also discuss this with local
officials in Loveland.
We hope this has cleared up some of the
misconceptions about the grant and addressed
your concerns.  


Jeff Kraft
Director of Business Funding and Incentives
P 303.892.3840 | C 303.501.4095
1625 Broadway, Suite 2700, Denver, CO 80202 |