by Kirk Woundy
It's not a "final" final decision, but the Bureau of Land Management has basically green-lighted the "Over the River" project in its final Environmental Impact Statement today.
The Denver Post has a good story that explains some of the measures that Christo will have to take to satisfy the BLM. It sounds, however, like the artist is happy that the end product that he and his late partner Jeanne-Claude imagined — 5.9 miles of fabric panels, dotted over a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River — is looking within reach.
From a release:
“I am very pleased that the BLM selected our proposal for this temporary work of art,” said Christo. “This is the first time in history that a work of art has undergone an Environmental Impact Statement, so this is a significant milestone for us and for artists everywhere who want to create art on public lands. Although our team is still reviewing the 1,686-page Final EIS in detail, I am confident that the impacts and concerns have been adequately addressed. I am eager to move forward with Over The River as Jeanne-Claude and I envisioned it.”
The Post reports that construction could begin as early as next spring, assuming permits come through and the BLM puts its final stamp of approval on the project. As the release states, "The Bureau of Land Management will issue a Record of Decision containing the agency’s final decision, conditions and mitigation measures in fall of 2011."
The earliest the controversial two-week-long installation would be ready is 2014.