Christo's 'Over The River' project just took another step forward. On Tuesday, commissioners in Fremont County approved a permit for the fabric art project which proposes to hang 5.9 miles of aluminum coated fabric panels across a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River.
Speaking from Denver International Airport Christo said he was pleased with the vote, "We are very happy that the decision was not only positive, but all commissioners voted for the project," according to CBS4.
The Denver Post reports that Christo's team already has federal approval to proceed, but still needs permits from Chaffee County, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and eventually the state patrol.
Construction was to begin in 2012 for an exhibition date of August 2014, but in February Christo's team postponed the exhibition date to August 2015, 7News reported. For reasoning behind the new date Christo's team said that it was due to a delayed approval to allow the project from the Bureau of Land Management which shortened the 28-month construction schedule to 24 months. The later date also gives local authorities more time to deliberate on the project.
And given the concern of some environmental groups about the project's impact on local land and wildlife, local authorities may need more time. In January, law students in the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the "Over the River" project. The DU law students filed the suit on behalf of Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR), a group that opposes the industrial scale art project due to what they claim are environmental issues and dangers to the residents and visitors of the proposed "Over the River" project area.
The Bureau of Land Management approved the project in November and is believed to be the first artwork to receive the BLM's approval through the drafting of a lengthy environmental impact statement. The project is estimated to cost $50 million, a cost paid for by Christo, and that materials used for the project would be recycled. Christo is also required to put several mitigation measures into place for local wildlife like bighorn sheep and birds.
This is not the first rescheduling of Christo's large-scale art project. It was originally slated for a 2001 debut then pushed back three more times to 2014, and now a fourth aiming at 2015.