Courtesy: Christo

This is the opponents’ last stand, though it's likely the project will be approved.

Hundreds of fans of the Arkansas River are not particularly happy with the artist Christo.

He plans to cover 5.9 miles worth of sections over a 42-mile stretch of the river with overhanging translucent drapes. It’s a project that has been in the works for 15 years, and is scheduled to take place over two weeks in August 2014.

Local opponents in Fremont County, Colorado, have been packing town halls to argue against the project, though it has support from the arts community, tourism boosters and now the federal government. Opponents argue that the crowds who will come to see the installation could pose safety risks as they drive through the curvaceous canyon areas to see the installation, about 120 mils south of Denver.

Christo plans to cover the $50 million cost of the project, “Over the River,” which was approved by the Bureau of Land Management in November 2011 after 4,500 public comments and a 1,700-page final study.

Opponents are hoping that two lawsuits will overcome the project’s wide support to halt it, according to this article from The Denver Post.

[T]he fight — now in its seventh year with few, if any, victories — has been reignited by a pair of lawsuits.

One, filed in July, targets the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Board. The other, a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in Denver, targets the BLM, the agency's regional managers and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

Opposition group Rags Over the Arkansas River, or ROAR, filed both suits. The claim filed against the BLM, prepared by University of Denver law students, attacks the project as more akin to a "massive resource extraction project" than a temporary recreational art installation and seeks to rescind the BLM's approval.

Proponents argue that the project will be a boon for the state, which is expected to see about 400,000 visitors to the project and about $120 million in revenue. But opponents, in two days of hearings, blasted the project. They’ve been challenging it for more than seven years, mainly on the grounds that visitors will create safety hazards, and that the two years of construction will snarl traffic in the rural area.

County Commissioners are hoping to make a final decision on the project soon. It will likely be approved.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Four young adults exercise in a dark, neon-lit gym.
    Life

    Luxury Gyms Invite You to Work Out, Hang Out, Or Just Work

    With their invite-only policies and coworking spaces, high-end urban gyms aspire to be fitness studio, social club, and office rolled into one.

  2. Rows of machinery with long blue tubes and pipes seen at a water desalination plant.
    Environment

    A Water-Stressed World Turns to Desalination

    Desalination is increasingly being used to provide drinking water around the globe. But it remains expensive and creates its own environmental problems.

  3. a photo of a woman covering her ears on a noisy NYC subway platform
    Life

    My Quixotic Quest for Quiet in New York City

    In a booming city, the din of new construction and traffic can be intolerable. Enter Hush City, an app to map the sounds of silence.   

  4. Charts

    The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

    A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live.

  5. Design

    What Cities Can Do to Help Birds and Bees Survive

    Pollinators—the wildlife that shuffle pollen between flowers—are being decimated. But they may still thrive with enough help from urban humans.

×