PUEBLO – Changes are coming to Pueblo’s Nature and Wildlife Center as the restaurant “Coyote Grill” is closed for good. But the center and restaurant have different answers on what led to the closure.
Veronica Salaz says when she took over the Coyote Grill nearly five years ago, the future seemed bright. “It was just a nice place to be, the river is beautiful,” Salaz remembered.
But pretty soon, there were problems with the building. “It just doesn’t get any maintenance whatsoever,” she explained.
Salaz claims her food went bad twice and she had to replace it. But the center says she could have found other ways to cover it.
“She could have had insurance cover that and she chose not to do that,” said Patty Kester, Executive Director of Pueblo’s Nature and Wildlife Center.
“My insurance is not going to pay for my food losage [sic] when [they] were negligent and failed to flip back the electric switch,” Salaz explained.
An inspection report from December of 2018 sheds light on plumbing issues, which Salaz said she requested to get fixed. But it also highlights pest problems, like rodent droppings throughout the facility.
Though these were corrected once the restaurant re-opened, Salaz says her financial loss at that point was too great. “[I] didn’t have time to save for my winter in a proper way,” she said.”I started falling behind.”
So she tried to reach out to the center to negotiate her balance. “I spoke with the new director, Patty, and she says it’s not in her hands,” Salaz recalled.
Though Patty Kester disagrees. “She’s not contacted me to negotiate,” Kester said.
And now, it’ll be transformed into an indoor classroom. “We need the space,” Kester pointed out.
Now this location was busiest in the summer months, making it a little more challenging financially during those winter months.
The indoor classroom is still in its planning stages. The center says the plan to build a gift shop inside here, too, and use it as a meeting space.