By Owen Woods | email@example.com
“WE’LL brighten up Sixth Street, which has been pretty industrial,” said Kale Mortensen, executive director of the Alamosa Convention and Tourism Bureau.
With demolition of the Sixth Street Motorway building complete, next steps can begin in the newly vacant spot. The plan is to make the space into a parking and green space area. RV parking is the main inspiration. There won’t be hookups for RVs, but rather ample space for drivers to pull off Sixth Street and be close enough to enjoy Main Street.
The idea behind adding parking in this area is to draw travelers closer to Main Street’s attractions, art, locally-owned shops and restaurants, as well as drawing people into the Welcome Center to learn more about the area.
Mortensen noted that the popularity of RV travel in Alamosa has increased dramatically in 2020 and 2021. “But there’s really no place for them to park,” he said. “So we want to supply RV parking, that’s our main priority.”
Design and construction are the next steps. An architectural and engineering RFP (Request For Proposal) will be presented at the next Marketing District Board meeting on Jan. 13. Once it’s approved, companies can make proposals for the work. “We’ll be moving pretty quickly,” Mortensen said.
Along with parking, a traveler- and dog-friendly green space will be added. Trees, shrubs, perennials, lights, and grass will add inviting color to the space.
A tentative deadline of late May is set for acquiring architectural and engineering services.
Hopes are for construction to begin this summer and finish by the end of 2022. However, with current supply chain issues, work could stretch into 2023.
Reconfiguration of existing parking at the Welcome Center will allow for cohesion with the new space. This includes readjusting existing EV charging stations and making room for two more.
This area will align with the city’s new master plan for Hunt Ave. Access will be at the south end of Hunt and allow for easy access to the rest of town.
“We’re catering to the traveler here with this space,” Mortensen said.
The idea for this came about organically, but once the idea became more official, the Tourism and Marketing District Boards looked at other welcome centers within the state to draw some inspiration. Julesburg and Breckenridge’s welcome centers are the two worth noting.
In 2019, the bids for demolition of the Motorway building started going out, but the pandemic put the project behind almost two years.
Demolition cost around $90,000 and was paid for through Alamosa’s Marketing and Tourism tax.
Costs for this year will be about $200,000, with parking lot construction taking the largest portion of those funds. Mortensen said these funds are not from a grant, but directly from the Marketing and Tourism Board’s reserve funds.
“Since it (the Motorway building) has come down, though, I can’t tell you, we sit there and walk out our doors and our view now isn’t a big brick wall, but Blanca Peak,” Mortensen said.