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Downtown Pueblo prepares for major expansion

Downtown Pueblo prepares for major expansion

PUEBLO, Colo. - Pueblo might not be the first place many think about when they think of tourist spots in Colorado. But Pueblo city leaders are hoping to change that. Last year the state gave Pueblo a $44 million tourism grant.

On Monday night, Pueblo city council members agreed to start working with the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk Authority of Pueblo and Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority to begin reshaping a big part of downtown Pueblo. The three-phase project includes construction of a new hotel by the convention center, an aquatic center and a waterpark.

The first phase of the project includes expanding the convention center and doubling the exhibit hall. The goal is that professional bull riders could use it as a training facility.

Matt Pierce of Pueblo thinks the expansion is a good idea. "It would just increase the amount of business in this area and it would show the rest of the state what this place has to offer," Pierce said.

The expansion is expected to increase out-of-state visitors by 10 percent every year.

"They may not want to come here for a week, but if we can get them to spend the first night when they're coming out of Texas or Oklahoma or Kansas in Pueblo, and then you know get them on that last night before they leave, as opposed to traveling someplace else in Colorado, that would be a big impact," said Jim Munch, executive director of HARP Authority.

Construction is expected to start in 2014.

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