BRIGHTON, Colo. — An old area in Brighton is getting new life. The city has decided to demolish an old building at the corner of Bridge and Main Streets and, instead of constructing a new one, creating a new open space for the city.
The building used to be the home of the Carmichael Opera House, then it was a Woolworths and finally, a JCPenney. It’s centered in the middle of Brighton’s historic downtown and the city said it wants to reimagine the space in such a way that would benefit the entire community.
“Many downtown areas are anchored by a strong civic component,” said Ryan Johnson, the executive director of urban renewal for the city. “Brighton is seeking to do that here by creating a park for residents. People visiting from outside the region — it will benefit businesses, help stimulate activity, shopping and dining, (the) whole sense of being in an active safe environment.”
The city has been trying to figure out what to do with the area for more than a year. It posed the question to residents during the master planning process for what they would like to see happen with the area. Finally, it settled on a new, urban space for people to enjoy.
The demolition of the old building begins this week and will run through the end of the year. The city awarded the contract to American Demolition to tear down the building.
However, this change won't come with a big implosion and wrecking ball. Instead, the company will take this building apart piece by piece. In fact, the city said people won’t start to even notice the demolition work until later this month.
“One of the advantages of going slow and doing deconstruction is the contractor, for example, is able sort materials into different recyclables and so the contractor is able to recycle about 70 percent of the materials,” Johnson said. “That's important to Brighton to keep materials out of landfill and materials and for them to have a secondary life.”
This slower type of demolition process will also reduce the impact on nearby businesses. The city said it isn’t expecting any road closures throughout this process.
Once completed, Brighton officials promise a completely reimagined space that the entire community can enjoy.
“We want to create a central heart of the city, a place people feel safe, a place to hang out where people can relax,” Johnson said.