FREMONT COUNTY, Colo - You could feel the excitement building in the Royal Gorge Park as construction continues to get the park ready for this Summer's grand reopening. Peggy Gair has been working at the Royal Gorge Park for 14 years. She's seen it through the good times at the height of tourism to the fire and now to the rebuild. Peggy is excited about the grand unveil of the park during the first week of August, "It gives me hope. We are going to be back to where we were."
The focus of developers includes the north side business center. As I was watching the big rigs and workers do the construction, I looked up and saw a helicopter fly over the park with a big bucket underneath it. I learned that seed for new grass and flowers was being dropped over the charred acreage.
Katie Benedick is the owner of the 16th Street Cafe. Tourism to the park is a big draw to her restaurant. She told me that after the fire she saw a 27 percent drop in her business. Katie is now excited about the park's reopening and how it'll affect her community, "It'll be bigger and bigger than last year. A lot of people are going to come to see it from out of state and from here in Colorado."
J.D. Crouse was at last week's groundbreaking for the Royal Gorge rebirth. He told me, "There is an excitement. I think there is a new stir with the new buildings. You don't really appreciate something unless you don't have it."
The recent snow didn't really slow the timetable to get the park open for the first week of August. Workers lost a few days but are gaining ground again, according to Royal Gorge Park management.
Weather permitting you will be able to go inside the park on a guided tour on the weekends starting March 15th from ten in the morning till four in the afternoon.
Some of the new attractions at the Royal Gorge Park will include a children's play area and eventually a gondola and a zipline.