It's pretty clear when a group of city officials all congratulate themselves after killing a baseball hotel deal that maybe we should rethink who the hucksters are around here — the developers or the people who deal with the developers.
I don't think Jeff Katofsky, the owner of the Orem Owlz, a minor league baseball team, and hotel developer will look back at Pueblo and think too much of it. But what Pueblo saw was a city and county that couldn't work together. A city intent on killing the project because its own pet projects wouldn't have been prioritized. A newspaper that went on the attack because — well, no one is quite sure why the Chieftain attacked the developer and helped to kill the project. And then a room of 35 people, mostly candidates for mayor, saw Pueblo City Council congratulate itself after it was known the project was dead for good.
Pueblo lost big on the baseball deal, but not only because it lost a minor league team. It was estimated the team may have only pulled in a 1,000 or so people a night when the Pueblo Owlz played baseball. Honestly, what else on the Riverwalk attracts about a 1,000 people during random Thursday nights in the Pueblo summer?
And with the Pueblo Convention Center expansion coming online the city will be in even more need for hotels and nighttime activities.
A baseball stadium doesn't solve that equation, but having baseball, festivals, farmers’ markets and large scale concerts do offer more to visitors than just walking in circles around the Riverwalk.
But Pueblo didn't simply lose development; we were finally shown the true character of ourselves who claim everyone who wants to build in Pueblo is a huckster. Maybe it’s we who have the problem.
How does a city that wants to grow, a city that has amenities beginning to return to their pre-recession goals, go on the offensive to push out new ideas?