Aurora, CO

Aurora set to renovate 'Ghost Trolley'

David Heitz

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The iconic "Ghost Trolley" sculpture on East ColfaxArgent Studio

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Aurora will soon makeover one of its most visible public art pieces, "Ghost Trolley."

On the East Colfax median in the Cultural Arts District, the sculpture by Lawrence Argent has taken a beating from the elements and vandals. It recently was tagged with spray paint.

If the name Argent sounds familiar, the late artist also created the giant blue bear that peers into Denver's convention center. He completed Ghost Trolley in 2007, two years after he finished work on The Big Blue Bear, also known as "I see what you mean."

The Aurora City Council heard a report Monday on the sculpture's makeover during a study session. Restoration of "Ghost Trolley" by Pacific Coast Conservation is expected to cost about $64,000. The council voted unanimously to move the matter onto next week’s council meeting for another vote.

Councilmember Alison Coombs called the artwork “iconic” and “priceless.” The value of Argent masterpieces has gone up since his untimely death.

Artwork deteriorating fast

Councilmember Steve Sundberg asked how much the sculpture cost new. A city staff member said $94,000.

The Aurora Art in Public Places Commission will pay for the renovations. "The deterioration of the artwork is continuing at a fast pace, and it is visually obvious especially on the south facing side, making the restoration urgent," according to a City Council memo.

Pacific Coast Conservation will move the trolley to a workshop for repairs.

The sculpture "honors Aurora's history and the history of this neighborhood as the site of the original streetcar connecting Aurora and downtown Denver," the memo said.

Kreysler and Associates built the sculpture of translucent polyester laminating resin using the artist's computer-assisted design.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best local newspapers in the country. Today, I report on Denver City Hall, homelessness and other topics for NewsBreak, much like I did in my twenties covering Newport Beach, Calif. for the Daily Pilot. I consider myself a lucky guy to still be doing what I love after so many years.

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