The City of Monte Vista was laid out in 1884, and served as a water stop from the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. Early settlers in Monte Vista were primarily ranchers and farmers. Agriculture remains Monte Vista's largest economic contributor followed by Government, particularly the school system. Monte Vista is a diverse city with lots of culture and history. The racial/ethnic make-up consists of 61.3% Hispanic or Latino origin, while 36% are White.
Monte Vista is working to address the needs of its community and encourage the civic pride and engagement of its citizens. The Downtown District is geared towards promoting its economic potential while preserving the historical character of its downtown core. The future goals of the city include working with the San Luis Valley Development Resources Group and other to attract new businesses to improve the availability of services and local attractions for its community.
Downtown Monte Vista
We talked to Azarel Madrigal, the city's Community Outreach Coordinator about the civic pride and engagement of Monte Vista's citizens.
DCI: What are some examples of times when the community celebrated success together?
AM: I can honestly say that in the past year I have not witnessed any gathers or celebration where the town comes together to celebrate its success, history, or heritage. The city hosted its first open house last September. It was a nice barbecue but there weren't that many community members in attendance. The Monte Vista School District sports are a source of pride for the community. There is definitely a lot of room for improvement and a lot more the city can do to engage and foster a feeling of pride and place.
DCI: Is there one place or visual aspect to the community, natural or man-made, that people all relate to in the city?
AM: The community takes pride in the events that are hosted in the City of Monte Vista. The first one is the Crane Festival. This even happens every march and it celebrates the migration of the cranes from South America into the San Luis Valley, specifically at the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge. The second event is the Ski Stampede Rodeo festival and concert. This event happens every year at the end of July. It is one of the oldest ongoing rodeos in Colorado. Both of these events attract a lot of people from surrounding communities and the state and country.
DCI: What are some challenges your community faces with community pride?
AM: Monte Vista faces some problems of inclusion. Although we have some great events that bring summer tourists into the city I do not think we do enough celebration of our community and citizens. Within the community, there is a historical divide between the Anglo farmers and Hispanic population that has been here for generations. I think the city has a lot of great natural assets within city limits and the immediate surrounding areas that are not being utilized. Another point of tension and lack of pride is the number of empty storefronts in our main street district.
DCI: What opportunities are there for youth to take leadership roles in the community?
AM: There are no opportunities for youth to take leadership roles at this time.
Be IN THE GAME. Join DCI at the Vibrant Downtowns: IN THE GAME Conference on May 2-5 in Breckenridge Colorado as we explore solve this challenge and 10 others that Colorado Communities are facing.