I am appalled at the most recent proposal by the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. I am an adjacent landowner and concerned resident and attended the initial meeting in November 2010 when the trains agent, Frank Anesi, assured the angry public that there were absolutely no plans for expanding the special use proposal that was being reviewed at that time: the Polar Express and Pumpkin Patch. Unfortunately, the subsequent and final meeting for permission for those projects to be approved was in late December of that year and was not well attended because many people were out of town for the holidays.
After that final meeting, the special use was approved. One of the main concerns at the time, aside from the additional pollution the extra trains cause, was the addition of a carnival-like activity center at the proposed site. Approving this initial special use started us on the road to tackiness.
Now, here we are a year and a half later with a new proposal for the summer months, with two to four extra trains several days a week, and more temporary buildings, inflatable animals and a tacky, fake setting in general. Why not encourage children to enjoy the train and look for real wildlife (even though the elk herd that previously grazed on this very spot that the theme park now occupies is gone). How kitschy can one get?
This issue doesnt even address the extra pollution that we absolutely dont need in this pristine valley. Durango had done a great job in preserving the integrity of our historic town, with the exception of the train. I love the train my father worked on the train for many years. It is a big part of our history. We should not degrade this most valuable resource. We dont want to undo what local people have worked so hard to preserve.
It is an outrage that this proposal is even being considered.
Please reconsider this proposal and dont approve it. What will it take for the many concerned people of Durango to be heard, and for big business to not have its way at the expense of our residents?
Kathleen A. McCormick and Jerry Fields