Groups present revitalization ideas

ALAMOSA — A group of valley residents, along with representatives of local government agencies and nonprofit groups, met Monday morning at the Alamosa Recreation Center to decide what the next step was in the process of revitalizing the Rio Grande in Alamosa.

"We don't know for sure that what you're about to do will change everything the way you want it to be," said Facilitator Bill Fulton, co-executive director of Civic Canopy, "but when a community comes together and gets committed to working together, they follow through on the stuff they say they're going to do. They build a sense of trust and resilience that over time, if you stick with it, can make the difference you want to make."

The process began in September of last year, when a conversation was started on how the community can work together to address issues. Four areas were identified that needed a closer look: Health and Wellness, the Economy, River Stewardship and Outdoor Recreation, and Civic Health and Cultural History.

At the last meeting, action teams were formed around these four areas, and the groups started looking at strategies that could be implemented in the near future.

The Monday morning meeting identified some of those issues.

The approximately three dozen people were presented with an action map, a document that presented the four various visions that the groups developed, and included what was saw as potential starting points. Members of each team then gave a brief presentation of their strategies.

In the Health and Wellness group, some of the suggested strategies included using signage and maps to increase access to the river; incentivizing exercise; and an emphasis on local foods. In the Economy group, suggestions were made to enhance tourism, beautify downtown Alamosa, and promoting entrepreneurship and business development. The River Stewardship group suggested to promote things to do around the river, developing part of the river trail with features and amenities, and create a master plan for river health. The civic health group suggested including local culture and art signage and programs, using mobile apps to navigate river paths, and inclusion of underserved groups in planning.

Groups were again formed to work together to identify priorities within their list of strategies.

"We're at a spot where we exactly want to be," said Patrick Ortiz, SLV Go Community Engagement Coordinator, pictured above. "We have this momentum and we have these prioritized action items that each of the four action teams have come up with. Thanks to everyone for working together to find that common ground."

This Revitalizing the Rio Initiative was a partnership with the San Luis Valley Great Outdoors, City of Alamosa Parks and Recreation, the Rio Grande Farm Park and The trust for Public Land. The initiative is an outgrowth of the city's comprehensive plan, where city residents identified the importance of the Rio Grande River as a priority.