Confluence Park construction could start back up in a month, final cost estimated as high as $8.5M

Project put on hold after discovery of coal tar
Posted at 7:20 AM, Jul 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-25 09:20:24-04

DENVER -- Plans to reconstruct Confluence Park could end up costing double. The project has been on hold since the discovery of coal tar at the site in the spring of 2015.

This week Denver City Council is being asked to approve additional funds to pay for the re-engineering related to the coal tar issue.

Originally, city officials said the project would cost $4.2 million, now the cost could balloon to double that figure. According to Denver Parks and Recreation, the final cost could be anywhere from $7 million to $8.5 million.

"It’s difficult to say exactly because of the nature of the material, as we proceed with construction depending on how much we uncover, that will determine how much money we actually spend," said Michael Bouchard, assistant director of capital projects.

The work will include a reconstructed plaza, better access to the river and improved bike and pedestrian safety. It is all part of a larger master plan to transform the park into a true centerpiece of the city.

Right now an unsightly metal dam runs along the river's edge where construction is supposed to take place.

"To me it’s a little bit of an eyesore with such a nice waterway and park right here," said Matt Gutierrez, as he took in the water on a sweltering day.

Residents are looking forward to the day when the work is completed.

"Oh absolutely, it will be a delight to have it done," said Michael Dowling, a longtime Denver resident.

Dowling loves to bike along the river and take his daughter to the area.

Construction is expected to start back up within a month. City officials hope the project will be finished sometime during summer 2017.