by Carol Dunn
LA VETA — At its meeting on February 21, the La Veta Town Board passed resolution 5-12, setting up an arts and cultural district, hereafter called the “La Veta Creative District.”
The district sets a goal of economic and tourism development, preservation and rehabilitation of historic buildings and visitor development. Trustee Tracy Webb explained that, if pending Colorado legislation passes, businesses in the creative district would potentially get a business tax break, which would not affect the town’s tax revenues. Trustee Dale Davis expressed his concern about the unknowns of that pending legislation saying, “I don’t want the Town of La Veta to be on the hook to do something … that might come back to bite the people of La Veta.” From the audience, local artist Kenny Schneider told the board, “This is designed to stimulate artists and what they can bring to a community.” Another audience member expressed her thoughts on the town’s support, saying, “I think this is more moral than fiscal support.” The vote to create the district passed on a vote of 4-1, with Davis voting no.
Cindy Campbell addressed the board on behalf of the LiveWell Huerfano coalition. According to its web site (www.movement.livewellcolorado.org), LiveWell Colorado is a private 501(c)(3) foundation providing grants “to reduce obesity in Colorado by promoting healthy eating and active living. It focuses on policy, environmental and lifestyle changes that remove barriers and increase access to healthy behaviors. Working in partnership with obesity prevention initiatives across the state, LiveWell Colorado aims to provide every Coloradan with access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity in the places they live, work, learn and play.”
The partners in LiveWell are Colorado Health Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the Kresge Foundation and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. According to the web site, “Nearly 55% of Colorado adults and a quarter of our children are overweight or obese.” Overweight is defined as having extra body weight from muscle, bone, fat and/or water. Campbell explained that Huerfano County has been selected as one of 22 LiveWell Community Investments. This will provide eight years of funding to try to reduce obesity rates in Huerfano. Of LiveWell, Campbell said, “They are adamant that it be a grass roots movement.” The coalition will decide how the grant money will be spent. That includes $475,000 in the first three years; $475,000 in the next three years; and $100,000 in the final two years. She added, “We need to decide on interventions and strategies for our area.” Requesting participation from a member of the Town Board, she told them, “I feel La Veta is not represented.” The public is invited to the individual LiveWell task force meetings. For more information and meeting dates, contact Campbell at 738-5200.
The board adopted the Three Mile Plan, which has been in the works for well over a year and included public input. The plan outlines all potential annexation areas within a three mile radius boundary of the town of La Veta and also describes the location, character and extent of areas within three miles of the town boundaries. Committee member Bill Webb told the board that a Comprehensive Plan for La Veta was done in 1976. Over a hundred year period, the town’s population has fluctuated from 625 to 1,012. Trustee Jim Fowler complimented the committee that worked on the plan, “You did a really good job; it’s a hard job.”
Mickey Villella and Alys Romer spoke to the board about a proposed commercial development permit application for a limited capacity restaurant at 604 S Oak St. (Oak and Garland). Plans are for seating for fifteen and a patio for use in summer months. A public hearing on the application will be held at 6:15 pm on March 6.
The board approved the railroad ticket office lease, which has the same details as last year’s lease but different dates. The town collects $4,000 per year plus utilities for use of the 96 square-foot space. A public hearing will be held on March 6 at 6 pm for public input on proposed Ordinance 262 to set up a railroad support district. The ordinance would create zoning for railroad-related land uses. The board accepted a zoning change request from Dale Davis for property at 307 North Main Street to be changed from R2 to commercial. Davis abstained from the vote. A public hearing on the request will be held on March 20 at 6:45 pm.
Mayor Don Keairns inquired whether the town might want a deposit from La Veta True Value for future water and sewer services, in light of its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He said he checked on water/sewer usage by the business and found that it never uses more than 6,000 gallons, even during summer months. The trustees agreed that the deposit seemed to be unnecessary.
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