DENVER (October 1, 2019) – Denver City Council approved a legal settlement agreement Monday night between the city and Denver Rock Island Railroad (DRIR), allowing the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center to move and consolidate 3 miles of rail lines to make way for the 250-acre campus redevelopment as outlined in the campus Master Plan.
“This is a monumental win for the National Western Center project. By removing these rail lines, we can provide better access to the east side of the South Platte River, provide needed environmental cleanup and greatly improve safety conditions on the site,” Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center Tykus Holloway said.
The existing tracks on the future NWC campus include 14 at-grade crossings with no safety equipment for cars or pedestrians, such as lights or gates. “The safety of residents, workers, visitors and their livestock is of the utmost importance to our team. By consolidating the DRIR rail lines and creating a central rail corridor with new rail bridges and underpasses, we will greatly improve safety and the experience for our visitors and community year-round.” Holloway said.
The $16.75 million settlement compensates DRIR for its property and the relocation of its rail and business operations on site. The city will ensure that DRIR will remain operational; old rail lines will not be relocated until new lines are complete and operational.
“The National Western Center team and the Denver City Attorney’s Office have been working for several years to come to an equitable settlement with DRIR and we’re very pleased with this outcome,” Holloway said.
All planned new rail work on the campus is funded through the NWC construction program, which was created after Denver voters overwhelmingly supported Ballot Measure 2C in 2015.