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Change Coming: New economic strategy in Trinidad hopes to bring in more people

Posted at 7:10 PM, Sep 20, 2023

TRINIDAD — There is a new strategy for economic vitality in the small town of Trinidad here in Southern Colorado. Trinidad is located along I-25 just before Raton Pass near the New Mexico border.

Wednesday evening, the town’s hopping with a celebration for the opening of a new hotel, a Hilton Gardens Inn, which is an element of the vision for Trinidad.

The hotel will be more than just a place to stop and rest. It will be a destination hotel for people wanting to stay a day or two. They can walk downtown, or ride a bike to the new Fisher’s Peak State Park.

“The biggest thing about that is I don't know a better investment than investing in your community, investing in jobs for kids, investing in our area," said Cy Michaels, Hilton Co-Owner.

An updated strategy in Trinidad looks out for locals by encouraging visitors.

"Trinidad is one of the last small towns in Colorado like a true small town with a sense of community and architectural integrity," said Jenn Green, Director of Trinidad Trails Alliance. "So adding this outdoor rec piece sort of pulls it all together and I think the whole town is behind that.

Investors have just opened a new Hilton Garden Inn right on the edge of the town and connected it with a walking path to downtown Trinidad. This is intended to be a destination property rather than a pit stop for travelers heading to other places.

"We have a unique opportunity in that a lot of our historic buildings were never redeveloped," said Steve Ruger, Trinidad City Manager. "So Trinidad is essentially a time capsule of the past and we're able to really embrace and fix up those historic structures."

There’s also the transition of Fisher’s Peak State Park. The park remains the iconic backdrop to the town, and it is now the second-largest state park in Colorado.

"The peak has always been the center of our identity here, geographically, everything turns to the peak," said Green. "So finally, having that become public access lands has been a huge boom for the town."

Restauranteur John McEachern moved to Trinidad during the pandemic. McEachern opened several businesses and sees Trinidad embracing the new, while honoring the old.

"New sight new vision, new tastes, those types of things," said McEachern.

Doug Hammond started Kangaroo Coffee in Colorado Springs. Hammond decided Trinidad is the first place to expand the business outside of Colorado Springs.

“The tingle tests on the arms about what business opportunity is emerging here certainly passed the test," said Hammond.

The plan is for a cycle of success. The town of Trinidad is hoping that people will stay, which would motivate more business investment. Word spreads, and then more people come and stay in Trinidad for a few days or more.
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