New Ute Theater: A Colorado Brownfields Success Story

The Colorado Brownfields Foundation, now merged into the Colorado Brownfields Partnership, conducted a brownfields inventorying project and provided advisory services which resulted in the cleanup and reuse of the historic theater in the downtown core funded through the state brownfields program.

The theater was found to have asbestos, so first on the City’s list of to-do’s to renovate the theater was the asbestos removal. With a grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, this was accomplished.

Through the efforts of City of Rifle, the Downtown Development Authority, and Visitor Improvement Fund, plans were made to work towards finding ways to fund the remaining interior renovation of the theatre project. Grants obtained from the Boettcher Foundation, Adolph Coors Foundation and the Gates Family Foundation gave propulsion to the project. Other grants came from American Shale Oil, Inc., Union Pacific Railroad, and private family foundations. Large scale grants include DOLA Mineral Impact Fund Grant, City of Rifle Capital Funds, Federal Mineral Lease District Funds and an unused Visitor Information Building Fund.

The plans for the ‘UTE’ include a mixed use approach with an expanded stage to hold performing arts venues, state of the art mechanical, electrical and digital sound systems, the ability to hold banquets, weddings and community events and become the catalyst in promoting culture and performing arts in Rifle, which are so desperately needed.

Today, the New Ute Theater, opened in May 2014, is available for public and private events including concerts, performances, films, community celebrations, wedding receptions, birthday parties, and more.

Image: The New Ute on its opening night, May 2014.

Image: The New Ute on its opening night, May 2014.

Community Builders provided visioning and planning services to Rifle as a part of the Downtown Transit Oriented Development Strategic Plan for the downtown core, which the City has been implementing with redevelopment happening throughout the core.


The New Ute Theater in Rifle with its historic neon lights on at night.