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Government City’s comprehensive plan presented by P & Z commission this week

WALSENBURG — The Walsenburg Comprehensive Plan was adopted during a special meeting of the Walsenburg Planning and Zoning Commission Monday, Feb. 23 on a 4-0 vote. Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman David Roesch, Secretary Carol Pennington Roesch, Mayor James Eccher (Ex-Officio member) and Planning and Zoning Commissioner George Birrer were present. Other commission members are Rick Jennings (City Council representative) and commissioners Ron Eccher and Erin Jerant. Walsenburg City Administrator David Johnston said of the plan, “It gives a good road map of where the city is, and where it wants to go.” Johnston said, unlike in the past, the planning and zoning commission plans to review and update the plan annually so it does not get stagnant. Johnston said the plan has been forwarded to all city council members electronically this week and may be a council or mayor’s discussion topic at next week’s regular city council session. The comprehensive plan is just that, comprehensive. The document covers a number of vital areas including community image, economic

development, land use, recreation and has a section dedicated to Walsenburg characteristics, community resources, infrastructure, civic, medical and educational facilities, parks and other recreation venues. The plan also includes the final results of the public questionnaire that many citizens took part in last year. “This document, the Walsenburg Comprehensive Plan, serves as Walsenburg’s Master Plan. The plans serves as the foundation for future intergovernmental agreements, capital improvement, programming, and detailed studies and programs,” it says in the Plan Coordination segment of the document. It says, the plan is also a community database, and can be used as supporting documentation in the pursuit of grants for community development. The plan’s developers said while it is an ambitious vision for the future of the city, it is intentionally not based on current revenue projections, rather, it focuses on the possibilities for improving Walsenburg as a community. The plan says partnerships are a core strategic theme woven through all six plan elements. It says the success of the plan is strongly dependent on the implementation of a variety of legislative, regulatory, technical, and financing mechanisms that will require coordination and cooperation between public, private and non-profit sectors, both in and outside of Walsenburg. Some of the bullet points in the Economic Development section include: attract new industries that provide jobs with a livable wage; revitalize Walsenburg to retain and expand local retail, restaurant, tourism service and other businesses by working with established organizations and associations; consolidate the offices of the tourism board, historical society, chamber of commerce and other tourism and economic development-related organizations and services at the historic train depot; prepare a streetscape plan and develop small farms to grow vegetables and fruit to sell locally to residents, the hospital, local schools and local grocery stores. The first comprehensive plan for the city was completed in June 1973 and a second in 2008. The city’s planning and zoning commission gathered information from these reports, the public and local organizations to create the plan that was approved by the commission this week. The planning and zoning commission has prepared a resolution to adopt the plan and it is expected to be presented to city council in the near future.