by Larry Patrick
The third and final meeting of the Governor’s Bottom-Up Economic Development Program was held Tuesday night at the Huerfano County Community Center. Around 25 people attended the final summary of what Huerfano County’s wants and needs are to move forward. The summary will be combined with that of Las Animas County for Region 14. Then the report will go to the state to become part of a statewide report on common problems and concerns that need to be addressed to help as many counties in Colorado as possible.
Information put together from the two previous meetings involving local people came down to having 5 goals. They include increase access to capital, create jobs, increase education and job-training programs, increase tourism activity and create a unified economic development organization.
Strategies, actions and expected outcomes along with the primary partners and available to resources that help achieve the goals were also identified.
Huerfano County Administrator John Galusha discussed the Trails program for the County that ties in Walsenburg, La Veta and Gardner with motorized and non-motorized trail connections. A draft is near completion looking at how the long term program can be put into action. It will allow for hiking & biking trails to be developed throughout Huerfano County.
Debra Malone addressed the tourism potential and the need to develop additional plans to improve. She discussed the need to get hospitality training to businesses and their employees so they can promote the area to tourists and travelers.
Commissioner Art Bobian said even if the State of Colorado doesn’t encompass a lot of the goals that the group came up with, we need to follow-up and use the plan that has been formulated as a path forward to get done what we need and want locally.
Some of the people present said they are tired of hearing how poor Huerfano County is and that we need to move forward on all of the positive things that we could offer while attempting to overcome some of the real problems that we do have locally.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward