The Durango Herald’s editorial (Feb. 22) regarding the STEAM Park feasibility study perpetuates the myopic myth of what this project is designed to achieve. It is far more than just creating a place to hold cultural events or give a home to nonprofit arts organizations. While those are admirable goals, the Herald and most other naysayers are overlooking the importance and value of placing it on the Animas waterfront. The whole idea is to enhance the river experience for everyone – not just bicyclists and joggers, river rafters or fishermen. We have a natural resource at our feet that other cities covet. Those towns with similar assets that have taken advantage of it are thriving communities, made far more enjoyable as a result. The economic sustainability of the new venue and the added revenue for the community is a valid and achievable goal.
What dismays me the most is the short-sightedness of people who are against enhancing Durango. Instead, they see the STEAM Park as a threat to the status quo. That kind of thinking has seen more cities go bankrupt and disappear for lack of vision. I have sat alongside the founders of the STEAM Park concept since its inception and believe these people to be some of the brightest, most philanthropic, generous and visionary residents of any community I have lived in – Breckenridge and New York City included. I have not heard one negative response that hasn’t been considered by the STEAM team or viewed with a positive outlook. There is no doubt in my mind that STEAM Park can be achieved, with all challenges handled favorably, ending in the construction of a world-class cultural center that can provide healthy revenue, create jobs, increase tourism and raise the level of our lifestyle. It just takes saying “yes” – instead of finding reasons not to build it on the river, let’s figure out how we can.