For the past twenty years, Matrix Design Group has served as the lead planning and design firm for the City of Pueblo and the Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority’s (PURA) award-winning Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo (HARP) project. HARP is recognized nationwide as a vital downtown waterfront destination linking historic and new commercial development through a navigable waterway and taxi system that is connected to the Pueblo Hotel and Convention Center. The $32 million project was funded by a public bond election, private donations, grants, GOCO funding, and corporate funding, including from the Boettcher Foundation, Coors Foundation, Hewitt Packard Foundation, Piton Foundation, and many more. The work has demonstrated that an historic river resource can be reclaimed to create a new community identity and economic engine — in this case, generating over $120 million of public and private investment. HARP has been recognized through national and state awards for planning and design, engineering, public engagement, and community-building process.
The most recent phase of HARP focused on the Gateway Plaza and Channel extension and included developing the Gateway Plaza around the Convention Center Expansion and Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Training Grounds, extending the channel toward Santa Fe Avenue, and creating a new boathouse building. This work provided the HARP Authority with new offices, as well as space for local events and an exciting welcome to visitors near and far.
For these latest efforts, Matrix served as lead civil engineer and landscape architect for the Gateway Plaza design. Because the property had been constructed in the late 60’s, existing infill infrastructure presented many challenges. The original main was asbestos cement pipe (ACP) that required condition identification with the environmental consultant, removal to ensure the material remained non-friable, and proper disposal. Within the water line corridor was also existing brittle sanitary sewer vitrified clay pipe (VCP), telecommunications and emergency services duct banking, and brick joint sanitary/storm sewer pipe. Matrix’s early identification of the utilities, coordination with the City of Pueblo and utility stakeholders, and communication with the client and contractor were essential to successful redevelopment of the downtown area.