May 24, 2010 7:01 PM by David Ortiviz
Downtown Pueblo attracts a lot of tourists each year, but some visitors may be getting a bad first impression. If you stop by the riverwalk, convention center or arts center you'll likely take the First St. exit. However, this gateway to Pueblo is nothing to brag about. "It's pitiful. Nothing has been done about it," said Gerry DeYoung.
The ramp is littered with weeds, debris, and dried up vegetation. DeYoung, who used to run "Keep Pueblo Beautiful", first complained to the city 15 years ago. "It's definitely an eyesore," said DeYoung. "I think it's a shame--we have a beautiful city here and for one of the main entrances it's a shame that this goes on," he added.
The original landscaping was done 25 years ago. Pueblo's Parks and Recreation Department has been in charge of keeping it nice. But over the years, not much has been done.
"For me it's a high priority," said City Council President Lawrence Atencio. Unfortunately, Atencio says there's no money in the city's budget this year for landscape improvements. "Hopefully in 2011 we'll put some money into that fund and start street scaping and landscaping that interchange," said Atencio.
Gerry DeYoung says it comes down to taking pride in the community. He's hoping the exit will eventually look more like the exit at Eagleridge and I-25, which features a variety of colorful rock, and evenly spaced vegetation. "Something that is attractive, as opposed to the weeds that we have now," said DeYoung.