Historic Arkansas Riverwalk Project
While plans for the Pueblo Convention Center were being finalized, another group of leading citizens was making plans for a scenic attraction that would work jointly with the Convention Center to bring economic development and tourism dollars to Pueblo. In 1991, a coalition of several board members presented plans for a Downtown Riverwalk that would be modeled closely after the famous river walk in San Antonio, Texas.
The project would utilize the Arkansas River that originally flowed through the heart of downtown Pueblo, but had been diverted following the devastating flood of 1921. The coalition named the project the Histroic Arkansas Riverwalk Project (HARP) and put it to a vote of the citizens of Pueblo. The citizens passed the $12.85 million bond issue in 1995. The passing of the bond issue and subsequent fundraising ($17 million to date) resulted in completion of three phases of the six-phase project.
Today, HARP is a 26-acre, urban, water-based, multi-generational recreational and environmental amenity that is publicly owned and free of charge to all. It has benefited the community by revitalizing a segment of Downtown that previously was unusable and unsightly. It futher serves the community by helping the Convention Center attract visitors to Pueblo, as well as provide development opportunities for PURA. Most recently, the Riverwalk helped PURA attract Angelo’s Pizza Parlor, the Waterfront Project and high-end lofts at the recently constructed Riverview at Union building.
Like the Pueblo Convention Center, HARP is a testament to the visionaries of Pueblo who were relentless in their work to move Pueblo toward a bright and beautiful future. The opportunities that the outdoor space provides for future economic development and tourism dollars are endless and exciting for those eager to see Pueblo reach its full potential.