Trinidad’s City Council unanimously approved two agreements at a Monday, June 24 special meeting that will help a major downtown development move forward. Council approved the La Puerta Development Agreement and Cost Share Agreement that will see the City make a short-term financial commitment for the project. In 2018, the city put up $1.5 million in city funding as a match for a $1 million grant from the state Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). The city is building the utility infrastructure and roadwork needed to complete the La Puerta project, according to city officials.
“The city needed to get going on this project,” said Council member Anthony Mattie in a Tuesday, June 25 phone call. “This was something that needed to be done.”
City Manager Greg Sund said in a Wednesday, June 26 phone call that the city could apply for reimbursement for the money it put up for the La Puerta project. “Essentially what the city is doing is fronting some of the upfront developmental costs for the developers,” he said. “By successfully applying for grants, the city can get reimbursement for its costs. We’ve already done that with the DOLA grant, and through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) the city can get reimbursement for its $600,000 in upfront costs within 18 months.”
Currently under development, La Puerta de Colorado sits on a 10-acre parcel of land between I-25 and the Amtrak passenger rail stop, the Purgatoire River and historic downtown Trinidad. Close to the border with New Mexico, the development is perfectly placed for the 3.5 million to 4 million travelers who pass through the area annually to leave Interstate 25 at the North Commercial Street exit and dine, shop or spend the night.
A project of the Downtown Trinidad Development Group (DTDG), La Puerta, LLC and Kip Hampden Properties, a company owned by Trinidad native and Colorado Springs businessman Jay Cimino, the development includes the recently opened Purple Toad Social Tap & Grill, the upcoming Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, the Depot, a historic building restoration that will house the Trinidad Welcome Center and the American Train Experience, which will offer transportation around the La Puerta development.
Another recent historic renovation development project is the site of the Historic Trinidad National Bank building located at 133 N. Commercial St. Now renamed the “Champions Building”, reflecting the history and spirit of the community. It will also house a historical hall honoring the Champions of Trinidad starting with Sister Blandina, legendary college football coach John Gagliardi, politician and jurist J. Edgar Chenoweth, and forward to the present-day champions, according to media reports. While maintaining the integrity of the building’s infrastructure, it will include professional services plus restaurant and bar space on the main floor and an outdoor atrium on the second floor. Additional entertainment and gaming are planned in the “underground level” of this historic building.
Other projects completed by the DTDG include the former Marty Feeds building along North Commercial Street, the award-winning Mt. Carmel Wellness and Community Center, the former Delmonico Building currently home to The Chronicle-News and the new Phil Long Toyota dealership located at 105 E. Cedar St.