While the City of Pueblo has been experiencing a population and revenue increase. It is also working to improve their image. Pueblo has a lot of positive things to offer, like the historic Arkansas River Walk, an affordable retirement environment, weather friendly and the historic State Fair.
Historically, Pueblo has been a blue-collar town, and the main industry for Pueblo was the steel mill, but the mill closed. The city is home to the Colorado State Fair, the Chile and Frijoles Festival and was once home to the Little Britches Rodeo National Finals. These events continue to grow and continue bringing revenue to the city. Pueblo lost the rodeo finals in 2016 due to the high price demand. The Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce estimated that the rodeo (week long event) brought in about $4 million to the city every year, and the State-Fair generates about $34 million in revenue for Colorado.
Considered a hometown of military heroes who have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor to an unusually high number of military, Pueblo is known as Home of Heroes. The Pueblo City Council adopted the name of Home of Heroes in 1933, and along with American patriotism, the interest in the city rose, as did the tourism and population.
In a study published in March, 2016 by Colorado State University-Pueblo there was evidence that the job growth, median income, quality of labor force, crime and test scores for some school districts were below average. The city ranked above average in higher education institutions with Colorado State University-Pueblo and Pueblo Community College. The health cares system, the cost of living, the arts ranked higher than average among the state.
Jeff Shaw, CEO and President of the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation Board said, “2016 was a good year, there were 200 primary jobs created, the unemployment rate was at its lowest and the real estate market was higher than average.” In 2016 the employment rate for the city rose by 2.2 percent and the annual job grown grew by 1.8 percent and the household annual income rose by 1.1 percent. The City of Pueblo has an average household income of about $42,049, which is up from the past years in the area.
The legalization of marijuana has also played in the production and selling of marijuana and hemp in Pueblo. Both medical and recreational use has generated revenue in Pueblo and throughout Colorado. The marijuana industry has also created jobs in Pueblo.
Cleaning up their image is high on their list because Pueblo has a previously reported high crime rate that resulted in national coverage. According to Pueblo.org in the area of education, the city is trying to keep its college graduates in the area once they complete their degree program. These students attaining higher education degrees are moving away, which is called the “brain drain.” Additionally, only 21 percent of the population has attainted a college degree while seven percent have attained a graduate degree. However, 87 percent have a high school diploma.
The City of Pueblo is planning an innovation center, similar to the Denver Tech Center, which would be located in downtown Pueblo. During the Pueblo Economic Forum CSU-Pueblo’s Professor of Management provided evidence which supported an innovation center could stop the “brain drain” and encourage those with higher education to stay in the city.
Pueblo appears to be on an economic upswing and it has been helpful to Pueblo, that Colorado was named as one of the top 3 states of the best places to live in the United States.