"River" project gains political allies in Colorado | VailDaily.com

"River" project gains political allies in Colorado

Colleen O'Connor
The Denver Post

Citing cultural and economic benefits, Colorado’s congressional delegation has sent a letter of support for Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s controversial “Over the River” project to interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The letter praises the artists for requesting a comprehensive environmental-impact statement for the project that will allow them to analyze and address community concerns about the installation.

The Bureau of Land Management expects the final EIS in 2011.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude have proposed draping eight segments of the Arkansas River between Canon City and Salida with nearly 6 miles of fabric. The installation, planned for the summer of 2012, would remain in place for two weeks.

Opposition to the project ranges from environmentalists worried about the impact of the project on wildlife to local citizens angered by a potential onslaught of traffic. Many rafters and kayakers on that part of the river don’t want their view of the sky obscured by fabric or anything else.

The $50 million installation will be privately funded.

“Estimates by independent researchers have projected that nearly $200 million in additional spending could flow into the Colorado economy as a result of this project,” said the letter, which was signed by six representatives and both senators.

The name of Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs was not on the letter, but his spokeswoman said that he has long supported the project, which would be in his district.

Colleen O’Connor: 303-954-1083 or coconnor@denverpost.com


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