DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado State Capitol could soon look a little different if Gov. Jared Polis approves $8 million in security changes, including a permanent fence. The proposal gained momentum following a summer of protests.
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The plan is now one step closer to becoming a reality. CBS4’s Andrea Flores first reported about the potential of a permanent fence in January.
“The only thing that’s going to be truly visible is a fence,” said state Rep. Susan Lontine, who is the Capitol Building Advisory Committee Chair. “Historical integrity, security, and public access are all three legs of the same stool, and they are all equally important.”
Colorado State Patrol handles security for the building. Earlier this year, they joined forces with the Department of Personnel and Administration to propose security enhancements after a summer of protests caused damage to the Capitol.
“Their original proposal included putting a fence around Lincoln Park and the Capitol building itself,” Lontine told CBS4’s Andrea Flores. “As this went through the process, the fence around Lincoln park was not approved, and the fence around the Capitol building was.”READ MORE: Booking Booster Shots Proves Challenging For Some Coloradans
The original proposal was just shy of $10 million. Once the Lincoln Park fence was taken out of the plan, the total security enhancement package budget changed to $8 million.
Lontine says the fence will maintain the building’s historical integrity while also keeping people safe.
“The design hugs the building, so it’s not going to fence off a huge part of the grounds, and it will also not be in front of any of the public entrances or around the four staircases that face in each direction,” Lontine said. “We do want people to know this is their building, and that they are welcome. This fence is not intended to keep people who want to visit as they normally have.”
The hope is potential changes at the Capitol will please everyone.MORE NEWS: Denver Police Prepare To Protect The More Than 100,000 People Expected Downtown For Parade Of Lights
“I understand the hurt and the anger and that this building is a symbol of government and oppression for many people, and the building got their ire,” said Lontine. “But damaging public property isn’t necessary to achieving that goal, so I think we’re trying to find the balance.”