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County explains land plans to City

by Larry Patrick

NORTHLANDS- Huerfano County Administrator, John Galusha addressed the Walsenburg Finance Committee Monday on efforts to help the City get money for the needed lift station to connect the sewer line project at Northlands and a proposed County industrial park to the new wastewater treatment plant.

    Galusha outlined the plan by saying Faris Land & Cattle has offered to donate a 35 acre plot to the County for an industrial park.  The County would need water, sewer and electricity.  They have offered to seek a grant for $800,000 to buy the needed material if the City would offer to lay the water and sewer lines.  The cost would be around $280,000. Galusha says the County would then give the City the other $500,000 to be used for a lift station to connect the project to the new wastewater treatment plant the City is building.  The lift station would also be used by the City to connect the rest of the water-sewer lines at Northlands, when they get the money to build it, to the new treatment plant.

    How does everyone win?  Faris Land & Cattle would give the City an easement across several other lots to get to the land they are donating to the County.  The other lots become more valuable because they now have water and sewer available for Faris Land and Cattle to be able to sell.

    The County gets a 35-acre plot in which to develop.  They have plans to use five acres for a Road and Bridge facility and they have a wood pellet manufacturer interested in five acres of the land to build a plant and hire up to 35 employees.  They would still have 20-25 acres of land left for future development.

    The City of Walsenburg would get around $500,000 for a lift station and offset their overall cost to develop the Northlands area.  Galusha says he contacted the USDA and was told they were favorable for a loan/grant to the City of Walsenburg to help them with the sewer line project at Northlands.  If so, the City would get help with the lift station, tap fees for the County land development and future sales tax revenue and tap fees for further development in the Northlands area.

    To get the project rolling the City has to enter into an easement agreement with Faris Land and Cattle and the County would then enter into an agreement with the City for the lift station funding.  With all of that in place, the project is contingent on the County getting the $800,000 grant from Economic Development Corporation.  The matter will go to the Walsenburg City Council for consideration.