Colorado Capitol graffiti cleanup, repair will cost more than $1 million

The cost to clean up graffiti and other vandalism to the Colorado Capitol property following recent protests is expected to cost more than $1 million, state officials said Monday.

The graffiti, broken windows and other damage was inflicted during the demonstrations against police violence that started May 28 in Denver, part of the national movement sparked by the killing of George Floyd, and which have continued to highlight Colorado deaths by police.

In June, protesters also toppled a statue of a Union solder on the state’s Civil War monument — which included a commemoration of the Sand Creek Massacre — in front of the Capitol, and later set fire to the statue’s pedestal. The monument and two cannons were removed from the property.

Frustrations have mounted over how long it’s taken to clean up the state property. The Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration said it already had started some cleanup but was working to evaluate the efforts required for the Capitol and other buildings it manages. State workers also were waiting for the continued vandalism to stop.

“We have been addressing these issues since Day 1 as they have arisen, but unfortunately those efforts have largely gone unnoticed as vandalism continued every day for weeks,” DPA Executive Director Kara Veitch said in a statement. “We are dedicated to returning these historic buildings to a pristine state, but we need to do so judiciously to ensure we don’t further damage the buildings. We are committed to being responsible with the taxpayers’ dollars while doing this job the right way.”

A fence was erected around the building to start window and granite work, which state officials said they were able to do after some of the vandalism slowed.

Money to pay for the repairs and restoration will come from the Office of the State Architect and the state’s Risk Management Property Fund. Costs above $1 million will be covered by the state’s insurance. State officials officials say the estimated cost of cleanup and restoration will likely change as efforts progress.

The work is expected to continue until winter, according to the Department of Personnel and Administration.

“We don’t know how many passes certain areas are going to take… or how much additional damage there will be, said Doug Platt, spokesman for the department. “Our goal is always to make sure the building is ready for the legislative session in January, especially with the windows and doors.”

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