The Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo (HARP) is a 32 acre urban waterfront experience open to the public daily. The Riverwalk returned the river to its historic location in the heart of downtown Pueblo, after being diverted in the 1920s due to a devastating flood that destroyed much of Pueblo. The Riverwalk’s current location serves the community by revitalizing a segment of the downtown area that was previously unsightly and unusable. This urban development transforms the community and has been vital in attracting new businesses, thereby helping to stabilize the economic base of the city.
The Arkansas River has been the lifeblood of Pueblo for over 300 years. Native Americans followed the river for hunting and trapping. Early settlers came as sheepherders and cattlemen. Agriculture blossomed in Pueblo’s warmer climate and the steel industry used the bountiful water resources to build a massive manufacturing center. Four nations have claimed ownership over the Arkansas River at the current location of the Riverwalk; Mexico, Spain, France and the Republic of Texas.
The Historic Arkansas Riverwalk’s three major programs are as follows:
- Expansion of the current Riverwalk to complete the original plan as presented to the citizens of Pueblo in 1995.
- Provide an economic catalyst to the community of Pueblo and to southeastern Colorado through the development of commercial opportunities that provides incentive for corporate relocation and job creation.
- Continue to evolve as a premier heritage tourism destination through educational programming, cultural events, and community activities.
Arts and Culture
The original Arkansas River stone has been incorporated into the wall design, creating a historic setting and theme which is carried throughout the project. Along the river channel several signature construction projects add to the ambiance.
Begin your tour at Kelly Falls, at the base of the Union Avenue Historic District. As you stroll along the riverfront you will encounter plazas perfect for special family gatherings, private celebrations, festivals and community events. Many of the features at the Riverwalk are possible through the generous contributions of area families and grants from major foundations.
Along the Riverwalk, take a minute to enjoy the diverse sculptures, statues, and ceramic murals that enhance the experience of the area. Over 25 bronze animals are embedded in the landscape along the pedestrian path. Stone and bronze fountains, indigenous plants and hand-carved benches create the cultural interest and peaceful tranquility that visitors enjoy.
The Boettcher Outdoor Education Center located at the east end of the Riverwalk is a covered, outdoor amphitheater that seats 80 people and includes an outdoor laboratory where students and other groups can gain a fresh perspective on Pueblo’s history. A primary element leading into the Education Center is Pike Plaza, featuring a commemorative representation of Zebulon Pike’s exploration of Southern Colorado.
Recreational and educational opportunities abound at Lake Elizabeth, which is located on the west side of the Riverwalk. This area has a lakeside promenade designed to provide a natural area for fish, waterfowl and other wildlife.
HARP Authority Board Meetings:
HARP Authority Board Meetings will be hosted in the HARP Office loated at 125 Riverwalk Place, Pueblo CO, 81003.
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