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New rebuild plans for Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

By Olivia Wilmsen, Multimedia Journalist, olivia.wilmsen@krdo.com
Published On: Nov 04 2013 11:47:30 PM CST
CAÑON CITY, Colorado -

With the Royal Gorge as a prime tourist attraction, Cañon City council members are hoping to rebuild that bridge and park to prosperity. City council approved a revised plan Monday night that may help.

Although this is good news for the city, business owners are still worried.

Royal Gorge Bridge & Park staff has been working diligently designing plans to reopen Cañon City's main attraction.

"It's an economic impact on the Royal Gorge region of about $30 million a year,” said Royal Gorge Bridge & Park Vice President and General Manager Mark Bandera.

Royal Gorge Bridge & Park has been closed since this summer's fire tore through the area. The town has seen a ripple effect.

"There's a lot of businesses that are failing in Cañon City,” said Royal View Campground owner Todd Denius.

In hopes of turning the economy around, Bridge & Park designed a different plan for a new visitor’s center.

Royal Gorge Bridge & Park revised plans after realizing the original didn't fit the budget.

"We had to make some significant changes," said Bandera.

Those changes include smaller buildings from the original proposal. It’s something business owners like Denius worry will take too long.

"I would like to have a hard date to give to my customers and I'm sure other businesses would in the area also so that we could tell customers that we will have some opening ability for you to visit the bridge,” said Denius.

When asked, Bridge & Park predicted the bridge will open again by mid-summer. That’s disappointing news for Cañon City businesses, but Bandera says that may be the worst case scenario.

Bridge & Park leaders also announced a proposal for a park amphitheater to attract big name concerts. Those designs are still in the works.

Now that city council has approved those plans, the construction company can put together a schedule. So we should have a better idea of how long it will take to reopen the bridge and park in a couple of days.

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