IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)– If developers have it their way, visitors could be riding a gondola up a mountain to access miles of new trails above Idaho Springs by next summer. Mary Jane Loevlie owns the Argo Gold Mill and Tunnel property and had worked behind the scenes with a team to come up with a plan for the future of this historic Colorado landmark.
Developers already have special zoning approved for this project and say it will serve as an access point to access 14 miles of year-round hiking and biking trails the town is developing.
The first boom in Idaho Springs was because of what they found underneath– billions of dollars in gold. The second boom has everything to do with what people find above ground.
“We don’t think it exists anywhere in the country with a national heritage site and outdoor recreation,” Loevlie told CBS4’s Matt Kroschel.
Construction on a gondola is expected to begin within months. All of the development is planned on a reclaimed EPA Superfund site.
“People were telling me you are crazy to buy a Superfund site, but once we made friends with the EPA they love the idea of adaptive reuse. So, hopefully we become their poster child for what you can do with a Superfund site,” she added.
They will call their gondola being built by a Grand Junction company the Mighty Argo Cable Car. It will take people and their gear up the hill to access miles of trails for hiking and biking.
“Twelve to 14 miles of trails that are only 35 minutes from downtown Denver, you know what’s happening with that community,” she said.
While they work on the gondola there’s bigger plans for this property, much bigger.
“Housing, hotels, events center, mixed use retail, a lot of public spaces and places for people to hang out on the river.”
And as they finish up with final design and permitting, they are already looking at ways to make sure their full vision becomes a reality. The mine tours continue and will be a central point in all of the changes coming this way moving forward. Developers say they are shooting for next summer grand opening of the gondola.