Durango City Council agreed Tuesday to reconsider a proposal to build a pedestrian bridge to cross the Animas River, railroad tracks and east 32nd Street in north Durango.
City Council on March 2 plans to discuss what it hears from residents at four meetings in February, where community members may comment and learn more about the multimillion dollar walkway.
The meetings are scheduled for:
5 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Durango Community Recreation Center at a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting.6:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at Durango City Hall at City Council’s regular meeting.4 p.m. Feb. 26 at Durango City Hall at a Multimodal Advisory Board meeting.5 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Durango Community Recreation Center.The City Council has “received a flood of emails” related to the bridge proposal after city staff released rough renderings of the structure, which were published in The Durango Herald, said Councilor Barbara Noseworthy. Councilor Kim Baxter said she’s heard “significant, overwhelming objection to the project.”
In an interview Tuesday, Mayor Melissa Youssef said the renderings released last month are rough renditions to show the height of the bridges; they are not intended to resemble the actual design of the structures, which should be released later this month. Youssef did not attend Tuesday night’s council meeting.
Proponents say a decade-long planning process and a need for improved safety at the pedestrian crossing at 32nd Street in north Durango are reasons to continue with the proposal. Opponents say the bridge is too expensive, doesn’t fit the character of the trail and the money could be better used elsewhere.
City Councilor Dean Brookie said a council discussion about public comment related to the 32nd Street bridge is the “logical conclusion” to the feedback it has and anticipates to receive.
City Council has approved spending $3.4 million to connect the Animas River Trail south of 32nd Street with a trail extension on the north side of the street. The proposed pedestrian bridge crosses the Animas River (just south of the 32nd Street bridge), spans the railroad tracks behind north City Market and turns north to cross 32nd Street.
“I have been very clear that I think that we have an opportunity and, in my mind, we have an obligation to reconsider this bridge,” Noseworthy said. “I believe that the buck stops with us, and we are responsible for evaluating when circumstances have changed.”