A dismaying story from the Denver Post:
The golden dome of the state Capitol could be toppled by Colorado's rocky economy.The widely recognized but rapidly deteriorating structure led the state's 2010 list of endangered historical sites. The list of six was announced by the nonprofit Colorado Preservation Inc.
"There is a real danger that we'll have loss, both structurally and visually," said Patrick Eidman, program coordinator for Colorado Preservation's Endangered Places Program. "Even from the street level, we'll start seeing evidence of degradation."
Architectural reports show that damage to the dome is accelerating, Eidman said, citing popped rivets and rusting of the cast-iron pillars supporting the structure.
In 2007, a chunk of iron 18 inches in diameter fell from the dome, closing a section to the public and indicating the severity of the problems, said Rep. Paul Weissmann, D-Louisville, who sits on the state legislature's Capitol Building Advisory Committee. The committee nominated the dome to Colorado Preservation as an at- risk structure.
Repairs to the dome — first gilded in 1908 with 200 ounces of 24-karat gold — will cost $10 million to $30 million.
"We're broke. We're short about a billion-and-a-half dollars," Weissmann said of the state budget.
Colorado Preservation hopes to rescue the dome by raising $15 million, said executive director James Hare.
The group has hired an outside marketing group to work on the project, which will target businesses for donations.