PUEBLO — If you had a million dollars to give back to your city, what would you want to improve? This question is realistic for citizens in Pueblo.
The City of Pueblo is asking its residents for ideas and projects they think would benefit lives in Pueblo. The "Your Idea Your Neighborhood" initiative is letting Puebloans decide how $1 million of the city's 2024 budget will be spent.
The city is holding six town hall meetings from September through October, to hear project ideas from members of the community. The first meeting was held on Wednesday, September 20th. The city said they will hold a town hall meeting in each of the city's districts.
These are the following town hall meeting times and locations:
- Thursday, September 21 Solar Roast on Northern Ave. @ 9-10 am
- Wednesday, September 27 Online with Zoom link @ 6-7 pm
- Friday, October 6 Invitation to youth at El Centro Del Quinto Sol @ 12-1 pm
- Wednesday, October 11 YMCA @ 4-5 pm
- Friday, October 13 Barnes and Noble @ 10-11 am
News5 asked people in Pueblo what they think the million dollars should be used for. Citizens responded with a variety of answers. Some ideas included fixing potholes, an indoor pool, an art and culture district, and more assistance for the homeless.
“I think a part of it should go to public education,” said longtime Pueblo resident Cathy White.
“There should be more toddler-aged activities,” said Pueblo Native, Lycunthia Ascencio.
Pueblo’s mayor, Nick Gradisar said they have not put many requirements for project ideas. He said projects must be realistic, not over one million dollars, and it has to benefit Pueblo residents in some way. He encourages people to express their ideas.
“We haven't put any side boards on it, we want people to be creative and want to know what people think,” Gradisar said.
Donna Graham has lived in Pueblo for eight years and decided to retire here. Graham had a few ideas on how the money should be spent, including affordable housing, assisting senior citizens, and youth programs.
“Some programs for our youth, teenager, to keep them out of trouble into constructive organizations that will help them in the future,” Graham said.
Graham said no matter any of her ideas, the money should go towards people's basic needs.
“Its the number one for me, to make sure we are keeping our citizens fed and healthy, that is so important and engaged,” Graham said.
Vanessa Mateo is a Pueblo Native. Her idea was to build an ADA-accessible park.
“I want it to be more inclusive, for the children with disabilities. So something they can go to and be able to interact and feel like they are safe,” Mateo said.
Mateo takes her daughter to an accessible park in Avondale, east of the Pueblo.
“That I take my daughter with autism. They have a special swing and it brings down her anxiety levels if she is about to have a meltdown. It helps her relax. So we need one of those in town,” Mateo said.
Mayor Gradisar said the city is looking to invest in projects that are located in multiple different neighborhoods.
“We want people to look at stuff close to where they live that will make a difference in their life and can approve their neighborhoods,” Gradisar said.
Mayor Gradisar said if people come up with good ideas, Pueblo neighborhoods are going to improve.
“This is a way for citizens to get involved with their government and to make a difference and that is the purpose of this whole entire exercise. To get them involved and thinking about how to make the community better,”
The million dollars will come from the 2024 city budget, pending approval in November.
The project will be chosen through a review committee. Application for the review committee will be open from November 1-30.
The review committee members will be two individuals form every district and one “at large” individual.
People can submit their project proposals through an application. The “Your Idea Your Neighborhood Application” will open from December 1 2023 to January 31, 2024.
According to the city, applications will be reviewed from February 1-March 15 and a notification to project awardees will happen at the end of March. The city expects the project to be completed in April 2023-December 2024.
Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.