When we saw the artist rendering of the new, proposed bridge over 32nd Street in the Herald Wednesday morning, it was a coffee-spitting moment.
They must be joking. This thing is an instant eyesore!
Construction of the $4.1 million pedestrian walkway is due to begin this spring. We had heard a lot of talk about it, and wondered about the necessity, the priority and the expense, but it was not until we saw the rendering that we had the urge to say, Wait just a gosh-darned minute.
Does the city mean to tell us this over-engineered hunk of girders will loom large against one of the world’s best views?
Why would the people of Durango agree to do that to themselves, and pay through the nose for the privilege?
We are relieved that residents and taxpayers can see it for themselves now. For that, we are indebted to councilors Kim Baxter and Barbara Noseworthy, who have questioned whether this instant relic of the industrial age is the best use of limited city funds. So Baxter shrewdly asked city staff for a rendering.
Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Metz told the Herald the only thing that could derail the project now is if proposed costs exceed estimates.
That would be a good reason not to build, but so would a minimal appreciation for where it will be constructed and how it will appear to all of the people who have to look at it every day instead of the mountains, which are why we are all here.
Given how it is proposed to look, this seems like a reasonable opportunity for City Council to reexamine whether it should be done at all, and certainly whether it should resemble something constructed by a boy with an Erector Set in 1935.
We know there is a vocal group of proponents of the bridge. They say it is critical for safety and trail connectivity, but we find it hard to believe even they would say those are good reasons for an offense against nature and aesthetics. We live here first because it is beautiful. We should build with understatement. First, do no harm.
We love ugly ducklings because the ways of God are mysterious. The ways of people are not. They can get carried away with the supposed rightness of a thing until they cannot see it is wrong – which is why these renderings are such a boon.
And why now, for the city, it should be back to the drawing board.