New downtown Pueblo whitewater park christened, opens |

New downtown Pueblo whitewater park christened, opens

PUEBLO – The city’s new downtown whitewater park has been christened and opens this weekend.The official ceremony Friday included speeches and fireworks with the official opening Saturday.City Councilman Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, noted that the dream of the park was promoted by the Army Corps of Engineers and Great Outdoors Colorado, the principal funders of the Arkansas River Corridor Legacy project, and many others.Gus Sandstrom of Pueblo Conservancy District, which operates the Arkansas River levee through town, said the idea of the kayak course and the chain of lakes upstream actually began in 1978, “Now we have to continue the dream,” he said. “Let us stay together.”State wildlife and parks agencies, Pueblo Zoo and the Greenway and Nature Center, also supported creation of the park. Several cities and irrigation companies had to come to agreement, too.”They all were able to come together to bring life to this Legacy project,” Ortiz said.The whitewater park is the most visible result of the project, but fishery and riverside improvements extend about 7.5 miles downstream of Pueblo Dam. Some are still to be completed.Cool mountain weather has delayed the melting of snowpack, which will speed the flow of the river. So this weekend, the cities of Colorado Springs, Aurora and Fountain, Pueblo Board of Water Works and some Lower Arkansas Valley irrigation canals are cooperating to provide 600 to 700 cubic feet per second of water through the course.

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