At last, the city’s long-awaited convention center expansion is noticeably visible to visitors at the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo. Construction cranes and steel beams outline the $30 million project’s addition of a large exhibit hall and Professional Bull Riders-anchored sports performance center at the Pueblo Convention Center. Also in the works are a three-story parking garage across the street and the Gateway Plaza outdoor space.
Delays in securing release of state Regional Tourism Act grant funds took so much time that the Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority decided to drop two features of the project design: A $1 million “skybridge” over Main Street and a $2.6 million fourth deck on the parking garage.
Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority commissioners plan to revisit the walkways and associated funding options in the future. So the skybridge between the convention center and parking garage could be revived later.
Jerry Pacheco, director of the Urban Renewal Authority, said the sports performance center and parking garage are scheduled for completion by year’s end, followed by the 51,319-square-foot exhibit hall addition and Gateway Plaza in the spring of 2019.
Meanwhile, city and urban renewal officials continue talks on the expected demolition of the old police annex building in the project area. The city envisions clearing the space as a pad for a new hotel serving HARP and the convention center.
The bulk of the project costs will be covered by state sales taxes under the Regional Tourism Act. This is just the first of several phases of improvements for the HARP area planned in the coming years. So there’s much to look forward to at Pueblo’s popular Riverwalk.