As a member of the board of the Pueblo Paddlers I can tell you that our park would never have happened if it were not considered a fish ladder first. Sometimes you have to give an inch to get a mile. Politicians find it much easier to make river improvements for some reason when it is designed to improve the fishing. And you know, that is fine with me. I think improving the fishing habitat helps everyone.
So my advice would be to be prepared for plenty of opposition to any stucture in any river. However it is amazing how attitudes change when the discussion turns to money and economic benefit. When surrounding businesses realize that there is money to be made from boaters who visit such a facility, they will eventually get on the bandwagon. There is a whitewater course in South Bend Indiana. When the Pueblo course was on the drawing board there was a video that the South Bend folks produced and sent to the Pueblo City Council. It basically said if you have a river and you don't have a whitewater park you are letting a stream of money pass you by.
I say don't let them build something that no one will use. Holding out for what boaters and fishermen will be happiest with will be worth it in the long run. Persistance pays off and if they build something that no one uses then they will say, "See we told you this wouldn't work."
I wish you in FC all the best and hope that with the help of someone like Gary Lacy that your city will see the light and build something amazing.
You can see work being done on our fish ladder....er....whitewater park at the blog address below.