Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Wake-Up Call: It won't fly

Pulling up to Denver International Airport yesterday, I was already feeling nostalgic. New aviation director Kim Day is working on a master plan that could turn the grand, tented terminal into a giant mall that would be off limits to anyone who hasn't gone through security -- and security itself would be moved to the sides of the terminal.

As I dashed across the vast expanse of that terminal, I thought about how well it had worked, despite all the early doubts (some of them ours) and the very unexpected challenges (ramping up security after 9/11, so that no underwire went undetected). Even the now-iconic big-top roof has proved for more successful than, say, the Libeskind mess on the Hamilton building, with only a few rips -- all fixable -- over the years.

So if it's not broke, why are we looking at fixing this? Why isn't the city concentrating on getting some real retail out on the concourses -- some Colorado-centric retail in the places where passengers are really going to be spending their time and money -- rather than turning the terminal into a members-only mall, and then replacing it with a brand-new place for people to meet and gree their travelers in front of the current terminal?

It won't fly. Unless, of course, this is all a grand, one-billion-dollar ploy to move "Mustang."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun