With the economy in its current slump, development has staggered its progress in the past decade. But not all new development has been stopped.
Buena Vista, Colorado has, of course, been affected by the economic downturn, but South Main continues to progress into the neighborhood its founders dreamed in the past decade. As one of Chaffee County’s fastest growing towns, Buena Vista continues to develop and grow even with the tough economic times. South Main is a newer development via South Main Development along the Arkansas River in Buena Vista (BV for short.) The project builds off of the New Urbanism principles of creating a compact, walkable, mixed-used community. The project stemmed from two Colorado-educated siblings, Jeb Selby and Katie Selby Urban, interested in bringing a new urbanist, sustainable development along the Arkansas River with strong architectural design. There are residential properties mixed in with restaurants, galleries, and other small shops, as well as more residential units built around the developments center to create the New Urbanism style.
The other focal point of South Main is the connection to the newly renovated riverfront park, Buena Vista Whitewater Park. The new town-approved riverfront park master plan plays as a recreational connector between South Main, Old Town BV, and Whitewater Park. The development stems from the connection to the Arkansas River for kayakers, hikers, and other outdoor recreationalists.
The best part about South Main is the planned connection to the Old Town District, as seen below. The arterial streets in BV are Highway 24 and East Main. While Highway 24 caters to those automobile-focused businesses, East Main contains the historic core of Buena Vista. East Main runs from the intersection of Highway 24 to the banks of the Arkansas River on the eastside of town. Though the connection between East Main/Old Town and South Main has begun, the connecting development is not quite finished.
Many cities, towns, and specifically suburbs tend to create multiple “downtowns,” nodes, or bustling centers that disconnect the entire community. Buena Vista has made the step towards growing, urbanizing (term used loosely), and developing with sustainability and multi-modal connections in mind.
Credits: Images by Katie Poppel. Data linked to sources.