DENVER (CBS4) – Construction is back on for a major project in one of Denver’s most iconic areas.
Confluence Park is undergoing renovations but delays have kept most of the area off limits for more than a year. Finishing the job will cost more than the city expected.
It’s hard to miss the barrier that for Dominic Sales has ruined his favorite spot in the city.
“It used to be a nice area until they started the construction,” Sales said.
Construction crews have had the rust-colored wall in the middle of one of Denver’s proudest landmarks for more than a year diverting the South Platte River to improve Confluence Park.
Rebekah Stites says the project has kept her on the shore.
“I imagine chemicals in the water. I imagine rust — things that I don’t want on me,” Stites said. “I want to be able to enjoy it and not worry about other things.”
Work on the project stopped a year ago when crews discovered coal tar under the surface.
Michael Bouchard with Denver Parks and Recreation says the price tag will significantly exceed the original $4.2 million to finish the project.
“There has been a little bit of cost escalation just because it’s been a year and the construction market is very challenging right now,” Bouchard said. “But 90 percent of the additional costs are due to the remediation, not only for the water, but also of the soil.”
Finishing the area — originally Shoemaker Plaza — will include major upgrades to the area already under a boom of towering construction. Every open lot in the riverfront area is being developed into high-rise residences and businesses. Bouchard says it’s a rejuvenation of the spot where Denver was truly born.
“Personally I’m really excited. It’s going to be a great addition. It really is a statement about the city, about its relationship to the river, its relationship to the natural environment,” he said.
The project was supposed to be finished by August of this year. Now it’s expected to be done in 2017.
Users say it can’t happen soon enough, calling the wall blocking most of the park an eyesore.
“I want it to just be gone, honestly,” Stites said.
Parks and Rec says they’ll know the project’s final price tag in a few weeks.