PUEBLO, Colo. - An iconic landmark in Pueblo could soon be blocked by an 18-foot sound wall. For nearly 40 years, Star Nursery has displayed animal statues along Interstate 25 for countless drivers to see.
It's a fixture that may not be visible much longer. The Colorado Department of Transportation proposed a barrier on I-25 that would start at the Star Nursery animal display and extend to Mineral Palace Park.
"It is truly a unique display and a tribute to Colorado wildlife," said Chuck Prichard, who owns the nursery.
Prichard's father, Frank Starginer, started the nursery in the 1920s and shipped in fiberglass animal statues to adorn the southbound side of I-25.
"I moved here from Wyoming when I was six and that was one of the first things we saw when we came into town," said Barbara Eckhardt.
Bud Haindel said, "We like to look at it when we go up and down the freeway."
Under the New Pueblo Freeway Project, the proposed wall would be nearly 3,000 feet long.
Prichard said, "I understand that the noise is an issue, but there are some things that can be more important and valuable to a community than a few decibels of noise."
Instead of an 18-foot wall in front of the exhibit, Prichard wants CDOT to build a lower one, so that drivers can still see the animals. Many who live near the proposed wall said they're against it.
"I don't want a big wall blocking our view," Eckhardt said.
Haindel said, "It'll feel like we're closed in."
Dan Baldwin lives one block from I-25. He's also against the wall. "I mean you can hear everything if you're outside, but it's not bad," he said.
Ray Brown, on the other hand, hopes a compromise can be reached. He doesn't want to see the animals hidden but wants the wall.
"I believe it'll improve the sound in the neighborhood and will lower the sound levels," Brown said. "Also, I think that it's probably a very valuable thing to improve property values."
Prichard said he's willing to compromise with a lower wall, so long as his beloved animal display isn't hidden. "It would be a shame to see it go away," he said.
Those who live near the proposed wall were sent ballots to vote if they're for or against it. Ballots need to be turned in by Oct. 15.