Lights, camera, action ... Downtown Durango on a late fall afternoon.
Starting next week, a downtown capital-improvement project that was introduced about four years ago will finally
One would think that anything that was in preproduction for that long would hit the box office like a star-studded, A-list, Hollywood movie premier.
But that's hardly the case.
If you missed out on the hours of focus-group testing, script changes and spirited editing sessions, let me fast
forward to the final scene: In 2005, the city had determined that downtown would be the backdrop and the failing
sidewalks the plot. The actor's guild was called in to meet with the producers. Some cast members turned up their
noses at the script all together, others called for a full-length, spare-no-expense, blockbuster. The majority
favored a lower impact, lower-cost and lower-risk production in black and white ... essentially a rerun of "Andy
Griffith" with a few "Forrest Gump"-like thrills. So, all of the big scenes with fiery car crashes and steamy
lovemaking ended up on the cutting room floor. What's left is "G" rated and appropriate for all ages.
If the Hollywood-sized contracts are all signed, and the attorneys are happy, then work will begin Monday and end by
That's right, this project will be shot in segments over the next several fall and spring seasons to avoid the
tourists and eliminate the potential for illegal pirating of our work. The action will be focused on the 600 block
only, one side at a time. Scenes also will be shot on the side streets of Sixth and Seventh streets from Main Avenue
to the alleys.
Springtime work will resume in March and be limited to the 500 block and intersection upgrades at Main and College.
If you are a construction groupie and autograph seeker, you can see set workers digging trenches in the street
alongside the curbs and watch them install new electrical lines for improved holiday lighting and special events, water lines to water our street-side trees, wi-fi lines so we can check movie reviews while sipping lattes at
favorite downtown coffee haunts, and even installing electric recharging stations for the early adapters who purchase
Wouldn't Forrest Gump like that?
Finally, the star of the show, the sidewalks will get top billing.
Rumor control is always a problem with big productions like this, so here's the backstage skinny: Only 15 percent of
downtown sidewalks will be replaced or repaired. So, wherever you see exciting trip-and-fall locations, scary tree
roots pushing up out of the ground and reaching for small children, or Bonnie and Clyde style busted curbs, that's
where the action will be.
My final review: All businesses will be communicated with early and often, workers will be dutiful, and
inconveniences kept to a minimum. Thank you for staying off the red carpet and behind the ropes.
email@example.com Bob Kunkel is special events and business coordinator for Durango's Central Business