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Idaho Springs capitalizing on increased traffic along I-70 with development projects

Transition from service to destination community
Posted at 5:01 PM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-11 19:10:59-04

IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Heading up to the mountains during the summer or on the weekends, drivers are bound to hit the heavy traffic backup on Interstate 70. The city of Idaho Springs is using that traffic to its advantage to crank up tourism and become more of a destination community.

“We’ve been working on keeping the good bones this town has for over 30 years,” said Mary Jane Loevlie, Partner & Owner of Argo Mill and Tunnel.

Argo has plans to take on a new design and bring in more visitors at the historic location on Riverside Drive.

“Our Argo Base Village where we have housing, residential and maker spaces—we came up with the idea to build a gondola from the base village all the way a mile up to the top of the trails," said Loevlie.

The trails above the mill sit on 500 acres of property owned by the city. There are plans to make them permanent over the next five to 10 years.

“Between 12 and 15 miles of multi-use trails for hiking and mountain biking,” said Alan Tiefenbach, Idaho Springs' Community Development Planner. “My goal is I hope within the next year that the first segment will be built, that we will actually get people to the top of that first peak that is right above the Argo Mill and Mine.”

As more people move to Colorado, they are looking for other options to explore the state outside of skiing and snowboarding in the mountains during the winter.

“You can hike, you can bike, you can fish, you can raft,” said Idaho Springs Mayor Michael Hillman. “We offer quite a bit of amenities to people that are coming up here.”

Construction crews are putting the finish touches on the Colorado Boulevard project, with a completion date set for Aug. 10. The city is also working on completing walkways and a $2 million greenway going through town that are funded by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).