By Pam Zubeck
It’s hard not to miss the progress made on the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum and Hall of Fame at Vermijo and Sierra Madre streets. Officials have previously said it will open in early 2020.
Now, the pedestrian bridge that will link the museum with America the Beautiful Park is about to get underway, according to a resolution due to city council for consideration Oct. 22.
The resolution, if approved, would hand over the property beneath the bridge’s landing spot to an entity controlled by Nor’wood Development Group, which is helping to fund the bridge and has major designs on that area of lower downtown.
The $11 million contract to build the bridge was awarded earlier this year, and now the city must transfer the property to enable the work to begin.
Or, as the city put it in backup materials for the council’s Oct. 22 action, “The construction of the bridge is imminent, thus the conveyance of 125 Cimino [Drive] is urgent.”
In those materials, the city says Nor’wood will build the bridge’s landing, staircase and elevator at a cost of approximately $2.6 million while also donating cash for the bridge. The resolution doesn’t change the commitment Nor’wood made in early 2017 to clean up remnants of a coal gasification plant located at 25 and 125 Cimino that left carcinogenic coal tar beneath it, said city spokesperson Kim Melchor.
After signing off on the deal to clean it up and take possession of the property, Nor’wood and the city have failed to close the land transaction. As of Oct. 21, the property remains in the city’s hands.
Records show the city and Nor’wood have postponed the land transaction a dozen times, and that Nor’wood might have second thoughts about assuming responsibility for the Cimino property cleanup, which a city contractor, LT Environmental Inc. of Arvada, estimates will cost $4.5 million.