I’d like to clear up some misinformation circulating about the Durango STEAM Park Cultural/Science Center, including Kelly Black’s letter to the editor (Herald, Nov. 23). The project was privately conceived and financed over the last couple of years. To move into the public realm, a feasibility study was necessary and the city applied for a $75,000 matching grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. The grant was awarded, with the city providing half the match and STEAM Park providing the remaining half, both of which were $37,500. City staff and STEAM Park committee members jointly chose the firm BNIM to do the study, which while based in Kansas City, has local ties through one of its architects who grew up in Durango and owns a home here. Also, the local firm Goff Engineering and Surveying will help produce the study.
The plan for the cultural/science center is multifaceted. It would be the first river-front redevelopment in Durango open to the public for performances, galleries and education. The partners for the endeavor are all well-known local nonprofit organizations including Durango Arts Center, Powerhouse Science Center, Music in the Mountains, San Juan Symphony, Durango Independent Film Festival and Stillwater Foundation. Adjacent to the Powerhouse Science Center, it would serve to replace facilities such as DAC’s badly outdated building and offer residents and tourists alike a riverfront experience they currently can’t enjoy.
If the project proceeds after the feasibility study, many additional local businesses (builders, food services, etc.) will potentially benefit from the center’s construction and operations. It will be a visionary and far-reaching facility for the entire community, both locally created and shepherded to fruition by local leaders. Those interested in additional information about STEAM Park can go to Durangosteampark.org.