By cvlopez | firstname.lastname@example.org
IF you take a step back, you can see it.
A cultural trail along Hunt Avenue and Sixth Street that leads to Cole Park. A newly-designed landscaping project with the Jocelyn Russell “Cranes in Flight” public art exhibit accentuating the area. The idea of a boutique downtown hotel on the block from State Avenue to Hunt.
You can see it all, and it’s closer than you might think. Consider:
- The city of Alamosa recently was awarded a $1.2 million state grant to create the Hunt Avenue Cultural Trail from Sixth to Third streets, essentially creating a walking path in the middle of downtown running south to north and leading to Cole Park and the Rio Grande.
- Alamosa County tourism board and Visit Alamosa are set to award a landscaping contract this week to beautify the open lot at Sixth and Hunt where the Motorway building once sat. In addition to creating spaces for daytime RV parking, the new landscape design will incorporate the “Cranes in Flight” sculpture by Alamosa native Joceyln Russell, adding to the public art by the Colorado Welcome Center.
- There is buzz of movement to relocate the downtown food bank along Sixth Street between State and Hunt, which would open the block to the hotel development as the city has desired.
And if you connect the dots even further, the transformation of downtown Alamosa into a local, regional and tourist destination becomes even more clearer. Again consider:
- Alamosa has put the owner of the Walsh Hotel on notice that demolition of the building must commence by September, either by the owner or the city contracting for the work. This paves the way for future development along Sixth Street.
- Friday Health Plans has a finished architectural rendering and is jumping through the hoops with the Colorado Department of Transportation to begin construction on its new building along Sixth and San Juan. Fridays also has purchased 1.8 acres of the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad property for an employee parking lot and off-hour public parking.
- The city recently approved a rezoning to commercial from industrial along Sixth and the east end of Main Street to entice and incentivize developers to create more retail along those old east industrial corridors of the town.
At top, a view of Hunt Avenue looking north from Sixth Street. On the map at left, the green arrow shows where revitalization of Hunt Avenue would lead from Visitors’ Bureau to Cole Park. At right is an artist’s rendering of how some of the improvements might look. Download the city’s full downtown plan HERE.
ALL of these public and private moves build a pathway to a downtown vision residents have been clamoring for, calling for an activation of the Rio Grande and a reinvigoration and reimagination of the city’s core to help Alamosa move itself forward in the 21st Century with quality-of-life enhancements for the town.
“I want to make Alamosa the most livable, vibrant community it can be,” said Rachel Baird, who in her role as development services director functions as the city’s lead planner.
“We’re right at the bubble of really seeing this continue to grow and be something special,” said Harry Reynolds, the city’s public works director who carries the responsibility of making the quality-of-life improvements happen.
With money from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Revitalizing Main Streets grant and no matching money required from the city, Alamosa will move ahead with the Hunt Avenue remake into a cultural corridor.
Reynolds said the first steps are an RFP for engineering, then relocating utilities on Hunt and tearing out the street and rebuilding it. He figures it’s a two-year project, with the engineering RFP going out this year now that the money is secured.
Through the project Hunt Avenue will take on new, wider sidewalks, new street art and interpretive historic signage, and new landscaping.
“It’s never really been a very hospitable pedestrian corridor,” Baird said, “and so it needs to be beautiful, it needs to be inviting and it needs to be safe.”
A new Hunt Avenue Cultural Trail to go with a new Main Street to go with a new Sixth Street and Alamosa, a city built along the Rio Grande, finds itself on the move with more to come. Stay tuned.
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