Editorial - HARP's Future
Source D. Ohmans
Date 11/07/15/08:43
HARP's future

PUEBLO 7-15-11--CITY COUNCIL was urged to allow a portion of the grassy area on the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo to remain that way.

The portion of HARP in question is across the waterway from the entertainment tent where, for example, the Pueblo Symphony performed for the Fourth of July. Thousands of people attended the musicale, sitting on the grassy slopes of two undeveloped parcels.

HARP originally was envisioned — and sold to voters — as a waterfront district for commercial activity. The Professional Bull Riders and Angelo’s Pizza are part of that vision, and another building is nearing completion. Additionally, a condominium complex and the Center for American Values are among other additions.

Puebloan J. Doug Ohmans presented council with 170 petition signatures urging that the two parcels in question be left undeveloped. He later noted that “Pueblo people have adopted that area as a beautiful central park in Downtown, and every great city has one. We need to save that open space.”

The lots are on the market for sale, but there has been no activity up to now.

Councilwoman Judy Weaver told how she found herself wondering about the future of the grassy parcels that were covered with people on the Fourth. “It was such a special night that I thought, ‘People are going to be really upset if we take this away from them.’ ’’

There is an irony here in that, during the early years of HARP, some in the community groused that it was “just a park, not a real riverwalk.” But things change.

HARP will never rival the San Antonio Riverwalk in scope, and it really wasn’t promoted to do that. And, while it originally was seen as a commercial core, perhaps some of the park-like sections should be maintained that way.

Councilman Chris Kaufman, who also serves on the Urban Renewal Authority, told board members after Monday’s council meeting that “they need a Plan B, to be thinking about a place for community events if those lots sell.” Of course, the waterway is what makes those lots so attractive for community events.

We encourage Puebloans to let members of City Council know what they believe should be the future of HARP.

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