DENVER (CBS4) – Following a tied vote, RTD is set to address the land on the south side of Civic Center Station again this week, with a potential final vote next Tuesday. The City of Denver has offered to lease the land for $123,000 a month in order to build a park as part of the proposed Medal of Honor Museum.
“The entry Gateway Park is to make a statement as you approach the Medal of Honor Museum,” said RTD Director Doug Tisdale.
The area, right now, is dirt and gravel. Those inside RTD differ on if that was done as a safety precaution to keep drug activity out and make the area safer after the 2016 renovation project began, while others say RTD ran out of money to make more space. On Tuesday, Directors voted 7-7 on the lease. One director was absent.
“There used to be a park there, and we took the park out because we were having some problems,” said Director Natalie Menten who voted against the lease agreement.
Preliminary renderings show the area becoming a tree-lined corridor toward the potential museum site at Lincoln St. and Colfax Ave.
“It creates a beautiful amenity for us as a transit amenity as an introduction to Civic Center Station,” said Tisdale.
“RTD’s purpose is transportation. There are things we can use that lot over there that work hand in hand with our bus system,” said Menten.
Menten agreed to meet CBS4 reporter Jeff Todd at Lincoln Park in front of the State Capitol, a park space that has several honors to the military, including a statue honoring a Medal of Honor recipient.
“This is a veteran’s park already; catty-corner to the museum they want. A majority of people don’t know this park exists so why not put that money here,” she said. “We should be using an asset that is already in existence, it is already a park.”
Since the measure wasn’t voted down, a new proposal will be presented to the RTD Board of Directors at an Executive Committee Meeting on Thursday. It’s expected to be approved and head for another full vote of the board next Tuesday.
The City of Denver and State Officials have spent months courting the museum to pick Denver as its new home.
Joe Daniels, the CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation said in a statement,
“Denver is a great city, and we deeply appreciate not only the terrific meetings and conversations we have been having with local leaders on this recent visit, but the community’s love of country, respect for our military and faith in the ‘Colorado way’ of getting important things done. We continue to evaluate Denver and Arlington as the two finalist cities and remain on track to make a final announcement next month.”
Mayor Michael Hancock released this statement to CBS4:
“We are committed to bringing this tremendous honor for our nation’s greatest heroes to Denver. I am confident that when the full RTD board reviews all the facts, they will recognize the value the Medal of Honor Museum will have for Denver, Colorado and the nation.”