The idea for an arts and sciences park on the banks of the Animas River is steaming ahead.
The STEAM project was awarded a grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs earlier this month to do a feasibility study. The grant required a 100 percent match, which was raised from public and private donations. STEAM stands for science, theatre, education, arts and music.
“The wonderful news is we’ll have the entire amount,” Project Co-chairman Terry Bacon said. “So what we’ll have as a total is $150,000.”
The vision is an indoor-outdoor complex near the Powerhouse Science Center that would combine arts and science on a river walk mixed with public and retail space. The park would be next to the museum on Camino del Rio and could include a theater, an amphitheater, shared office space and classrooms. A parking lot is also part of the design.
The project has been estimated to cost about $30 million. Some proponents of the park have said it could revitalize the riverfront area, boosting the local economy.
The feasibility study could start in the fall. It will look at demand for the complex, including size and costs. The Durango City Council also already approved $10,000 to the project and could give more, Bacon said.
“That is still being discussed,” he said. “I don’t know of a definitive figure yet.”
Durango Arts Center and the museum are the major partners of the project. Other partners include Music in the Mountains, the San Juan Symphony and Durango Film: An Independent Film Festival.
“That is really unprecedented – to have this level of support,” he said. “We’re very pleased with it.”