Sep 7, 2010 5:37 PM by David Ortiviz
The Historic Arkansas Riveralk of Pueblo (HARP) continues to grow, as it gets ready to mark a big milestone. Next month, the riverwalk celebrates it's 10th anniversary. New project are underway, but for some developers growth has been slow.
The newest project going on is construction on a $1.5 million bridge. It's a tribute to veterans and will display the names of more than 5,000 men and women who served our country. "We wanted something that would be very unique, but also very distinguished," said Jack Johnston, Executive Director of the HARP Authority. Johnston says the HARP Authority is planning a big ceremony on Veteran's Day to dedicate the new bridge.
More construction is going on across the street on Central Main St. The old Pueblo Health Department is being demolished to make room for something new. Temporarily the lot will be used for parking, but the HARP Authority has bigger dreams. "Could that be a movie theater, could it be a bowling alley, could it be water park, could it be a bookstore?," said Johnston.
Up until now, HARP has mostly attracted private businesses, restaurants, retail space and living space and Johnston admits some growth has been slow because of the poor economy. For example, many of high end condos located by the riverwalk on Union Ave. have been vacant for months. "Certainly a higher end residential is going to have a little bit more of a lag or struggle in terms of recovery," said Johnston.
Overall Johnston says he's optimistic about the riverwalk's future, which includes plans for a restaurant and office space next to Angelo's Pizza Parlor and possibly turning the old police station into condos. "This is what the riverwalk was intended to be a driver of economic development and downtown revitalization," said Johnston.