January 21 2013

The Growth of Downtown Buena Vista, Colorado

South Main Street Buena Vista, Colorado

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.

Map of downtown Buena Vista, Whitewater Park, and South Main.

Map of downtown Buena Vista, Whitewater Park, and South Main.

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.

Katie Poppel

Katie Poppel comes to The Grid as a student constantly on the go. Set to graduate from the University of Cincinnati in 2014, she is studying for a bachelor of urban planning with focuses in urban design and sustainability. Her program has allowed her to work for the City of Chicago and the Congress for New Urbanism this past year, as well as study abroad at the University of Amsterdam, College of Social Sciences. In her free time, you can find her exploring cities, playing soccer, or skiing. She has a serious case of wanderlust and enjoys the rush of cities over the countryside. Katie writes from Colorado, as she interns for the small town of Buena Vista south of Denver.

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 21st, 2013 at 9:43 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Environmental Design, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


One Response to “The Growth of Downtown Buena Vista, Colorado”

  1. Angela Seng Says:

    Hey Katie!
    Right now I’m living in Fairfield IA studying Sustainability and Ayurveda at Maharishi University of Management. I’m beginning to explore places to complete my Master’s once I graduate from MUM. Colorado is one state I’d like to explore for my Master’s studies, and I heard Jeb and Katie were bringing Sustainable Living to Buena Vista. Would you mind contacting me about Buena Vista, sharing some of your experiences there?

    Nice article :)
    Thank you!

    Angela Seng

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