Pueblo’s Historic Arkansas Riverwalk plans to expand, increase security

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The Riverwalk in downtown Pueblo, on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. The Riverwalk grew out an area of the city destroyed the Arkansas River when it flooded in 1921. In the aftermath, the city redirected the Arkansas around the city to the south.

Pueblo's Historic Arkansas Riverwalk (HARP) will  soon see a major expansion. 

The upgrades will include 300 feet of new channel, garden plazas and pedestrian areas. HARP Operations Manager Daisy Jensen said  the work can begin as soon as the county finances the bonds. 

"The project is funded by ballot question 1A that voters passed in 2016, and that allows for the county to fund certain projects," Jensen said. "And our Riverwalk channel extension is one of those projects."

Jensen said they hope to hear from commissioners by the end of this year. 

The upgrade will also feature a three-story boat house for the HARP authority offices. The top floor will have a party deck available for private parties, weddings and community events. 

Jensen said HARP is also seeking other funding opportunities for the work.

"We are hoping to fund things like additional gardens, memorial benches and any shortfall that we may have because of the rising construction costs that we've seen recently," Jensen said.

Funds have already been secured to equip the riverwalk with high-definition security cameras. The $150,000 system will be paid for by dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act, the HARP capital project fund, and a matching grant from Pueblo Urban Renewal. 

Jensen said the goal is to curb an increase in vandalism, loitering and suspicious late-night activity.

"That is really concerning," she said. "Using the security camera system that we will be implementing will help communicate those things better to the police department so that they can better service the area," she said.

The cameras should be installed by next spring.

Pueblo's Historic Arkansas Riverwalk is in downtown Pueblo along the original channel of the Arkansas River and features restaurants, shopping, walking paths, and more.

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