Overall, a Good Place to Live
Like any place, Pueblo West has its pros and cons. Having lived here for 7 years, I feel qualified to give an honest assessment on the quality of life here.
Overall, it's a very nice place to live. The cost of living is very reasonable, it's generally peaceful and quiet, the views of the distant mountains are awesome, traffic congestion is almost non-existent, and the crime rate is quite low (especially the violent crime rate). The schools are highly rated, the air and water are clean, local shopping is adequate and much more shopping is available in nearby Pueblo, 90% of the lots are large (at least 1 acre), which provides "elbow room" and reasonable privacy. There is a large state park and reservoir abutting the south border of Pueblo West, which provides water, hiking, and bicycling opportunities. The climate is relatively mild, with 4 distinct seasons, which allows for outdoor activities almost every day of the year (although some summer days can be uncomfortably hot). The local sales tax is only 3.9%, compared to 7.4% for Pueblo and over 8% in Colorado Springs and Fountain. That savings really adds up over time. Housing costs are low, comparatively speaking. One can still buy a well-built, 2000 sq ft ranch-style home with a full basement on over an acre of land for less than $250K. Housing prices range from less than $100K for a mobile home in the mobile home section of the community to over a million in the Liberty Point area and a few homes around the golf course. Compared to the other Front Range cities of Colorado, Pueblo West is a veritable bargain in terms of cost of living.
Now for the downsides of living in Pueblo West:
1. The roads. Half the roads in Pueblo West are gravel, which means lots of dust when they are dry and mud when they are wet. Most of the "paved" roads in Pueblo West are chip-sealed, which is not nearly as good as asphalt. Most of the chip-sealed roads are rough and many have potholes. Only the "main" roads through the community are asphalt and in good shape. Very few roads and streets have curbs and gutters.
2. The wind and the tumbleweeds. Although not as bad as some people make it out to be, the winds can be fierce and relentless, especially in the spring. With so much undeveloped prairie land to the west of Pueblo West, the west winds pick up the millions of tumbleweeds between Pueblo West and the Wet Mountains 25 miles to the west and deposit them throughout the community. Spring and early summer is a never-ending battle to keep your property free of tumbleweeds.
3. The critters. There are lots of snakes throughout Pueblo West, including prairie rattlers. One must be careful when out walking. The local veterinarians make a lot of money treating dogs that have been bitten by rattlesnakes. There are also black widows, tarantulas, and scorpions to contend with from time to time. Prairie dogs and gophers are a nuisance to many homeowners. Owners of cats and small dogs must be mindful of the ever-present danger of the birds of prey - eagles, hawks and owls - that patrol the skies over Pueblo West.
4. Streetlights. There are virtually no streetlights in Pueblo West, which makes walking and finding things at night very difficult.
5. Jobs. Almost all of the available jobs within Pueblo West are low-paying retail jobs. And the nearby major city, Pueblo, has the highest unemployment rate in the state. Unless you are retired with a steady pension check, work for the school district or one of the Pueblo hospitals/medical facilities, or are self-employed in a successful business, you will have trouble finding a job that pays all the bills associated with home ownership, or even the rent on a 2-BR apartment.
6. The pot shops. After marijuana sales and use was approved in Colorado a couple years ago, there has been a proliferation of "recreational" marijuana sales shops in Pueblo West. Some may think that is a positive, but the overwhelming majority of Pueblo West residents consider the shops a blight on the community. I am part of that majority. Not only do the pot shops create an anti-family image for the community, but they are selling a product that has led to increased property crime and impaired drivers on the public streets and roads. There have been a number of serious traffic accidents, including some with fatalities, caused by marijuana-impaired drivers. I personally know a number of Pueblo West residents who have moved or are planning to move out of the community because of the pot shops and the problems they cause. The promised tax revenues from the sales of marijuana to upgrade and repair the roads in Pueblo West has not materialized. If anything, the roads in this community have gotten worse since marijuana sales were approved.
Despite these drawbacks, Pueblo West is a pretty desirable place to live, especially for a retiree like me. If you want to live in Colorado, be within a reasonable distance from the mountains, have nearby major shopping and medical facilities, never have to worry about violent crime or getting caught in traffic jams -- all at a very low cost of living -- Pueblo West may be the answer.
Hal | Pueblo West, CO