Ken Salazar

Ken Salazar of Colorado, a former U.S. senator and secretary of the Interior.

The hulking power stations that are part of Pueblo’s industrial-looking skyline are getting a little closer to being something more than empty buildings on the Riverwalk.

Pueblo  business leaders announced this week they’re now working with former U.S. Senator and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to redevelop the Black Hills Power Stations 5&6 into retail space along Pueblo’s major tourism corridor, which is home to a bevy of construction projects these days.

The convention center expansion, which won state money from the Regional Tourism Act, is ongoing and there are plans to build a minor league baseball stadium nearby.

Pueblo City Council members were at odds with Black Hills over saving the old structures for years, debating on whether to designate the stations as historical. They finally did in May. One of the selling factors to council members was that the redevelopment would be at the expense of private developers, not the city.

Now, it seems as if plans for the stations are more concrete..

The Pueblo Chieftain reported the announcement of Salazar’s involvement in the project, writing that he’s worked on redevelopment projects in major cities across the country, including Los Angeles and New York City. The now vacant power stations are slated to be transformed into retail space and a hotel.

Initial plans also call for a large green space at the stations.

Salazar reportedly said that in five or 10 years he and others may be celebrating a renaissance in Pueblo because of the redevelopment.

Council members regularly put off the decision to preserve the stations asking private developers — local businessman Ryan McWilliams and Denver developer Dana Crawford — to work with Black Hills to save the buildings. Crawford told the council that designating the stations as historic would trigger some funding.

Vance Crocker, Black Hills’ vice president for Colorado electric operations, praised Salazar’s involvement, saying he has a reputation of getting things done, the Chieftain wrote.

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