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COMMUNITY FORUM: Fans and foes of Christo's 'Over the River'

By: ltr
February 3, 2012

Residents should decide

With just a little bit of research on the Internet, I found out that Christo’s The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979-2005, project took 26 years to find the right administration to finally agree to his demands. With the “Over the River” project it has taken about 20 years to again find another administration willing to accept his demands. If any of these two projects were so really important to Christo, they could have been done in the scope of a year or two after their conception if they were simply done on private land like the Valley Curtain project in Rifle, Colorado 1970-1972.

I hope the residents of Fremont and Chaffee counties saw the power of democracy at work recently when the proud residents of Cripple Creek voiced their opinion against the proposed permit for a strip/ burlesques club in their city limits. The administration of Cripple Creek listened to the people and the permit was denied.

It is up to the residents of Chaffee and Fremont counties to vote on this issue because it will impact them the most. It should not be the final decision of any administration, state official, BLM, or special-interest group. If the project is denied, I hope Christo will finally understand that no means no.

Francisco Sotomayor

Green Mt. Falls


Back to the drawing board

You suggest that the Denver University law students’ suit challenging the environmental impact statement (EIS) for Christo’s “Over the River” project should be “laughed out of court.” If you examine “Over the River’s” traffic control plan (Appendix D of the EIS), you’ll see that it is the EIS — if not the whole “Over the River” project — that should be laughed back to the drawing board.

More than 90 percent of visitors to “Over the River” are expected to drive through it. In order to prevent dangerous and intolerable traffic congestion, the EIS assumes that these visitors will drive through at 35 miles per hour without stopping or even significantly slowing down, and without spending more than a total of ten minutes viewing the artwork on the fly. It would also bar visitors from parking or walking along the road anywhere within a half mile of the fabric panels. In other words, the entire plan for moving traffic through “Over the River” depends on successfully preventing viewers from remaining for any length of time where they can actually see the attraction which they have come to see.

James Lockhart

Colorado Springs


Such a waste of money

Tell me you’re kidding!

You know what a wonderful piece of art would be? Taking the money and eliminating hunger in Colorado as well as homelessness!

What kind of human being would conceive of such a waste of money and talent?

Bernie Estep

Colorado Springs


Once in a lifetime opportunity

As the crucial voting nears as to whether the Christo project gets approved, I had to chime in. I had the extreme pleasure of being in NYC for Christo’s Gates. I was born and raised in that city spending much of my youth in Central Park, my ‘backyard.’ I still go back often but never have I experienced the overall feeling of joy and lightness as I did during that event.

The city was thriving, the energy great, the businesses humming, artists from all over the world thrilled with this new canvas to paint, photograph and draw upon for inspiration. Any fears that had arisen prior to these events had been mitigated by the crack team Christo has in place.

One could imagine all kinds of frightening scenarios given the crowded and already highly charged city but, none came to pass. The opposite held true. There’s the old saying, “no guts, no glory.” I say have the guts, go for the glory. It’s truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Ask your questions, get answers, but don’t put and hold fear at the forefront of your decision. There will be no truly justified cause for it when the plans are set.

Go for it. Vote for it. Enjoy the ride.

Michelle Marx

Colorado Springs


A true and noble purpose

If anyone would take just a few minutes in a Google search, and then a few more in objective research, he/she would then know the true and noble purpose behind the many hard years of work that Christo and his late wife Jean Claude have put into their art. One Google search, for example, would be: The Gates, Central Park, New York.

Objectively, Christo’s works are absolutely beautiful visually, but to solicit praise of that is his least objective. Primarily it would be to involve the viewer in an experience, a discovery, an exploration of something probably outside of a comfort zone — something different. A solicitation of an emotional response, that would broaden the mind, enjoyed or not, is the purpose.

The scope and scale of Christo’s work in itself is amazing. Generally it seeks to provide an environment to become a part of, and in so doing the viewer is an integral part of the art.

However the consideration of protecting the natural environment his sculptures are so much a part of, is and has always been paramount. Each bag of earth removed to form the foundations of his sculpture will be carefully replaced back to the location it was taken from. The “Over the River” work is the first piece of art required to have an Environmental Impact Statement, the result of many years of careful planning specific to the protection of this piece of earth and river.

This project will generate more than 600 jobs over a two year period in Fremont and Chaffee counties. It will generate over twenty-five million dollars in pay checks and almost $600,000 dollars in tax revenue for those counties. Not one penny of this money comes from public funding. Christo raises the money by selling drawings of his finished project. It is the only way that his art can be his own.

Christo’s “Over the River” sculpture will make this part of Colorado and its natural beauty even more recognized throughout the world and the lasting effect will benefit our state and these counties forever.

This is a project that we must not only accept into our state, but one that we should whole-heartedly support, welcome, and approve.

Lyn Myers

Colorado Springs

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