by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG— Lathrop Park Experiential Program (LPEP), a juvenile corrections facility for boys, closed a number of years ago leaving beautiful buildings empty just east of the current hospital. Situated on land owned by the City of Walsenburg and leased to the State of Colorado initially for 99 years, the state had built numerous buildings to house the facility.
With classrooms, secured cells, a gym, large kitchen and cafeteria all sitting empty, local officials have tried for years to find a use for the facilities. Now the state may lease the buildings to a grant-funded group which will train high school dropouts, ages 16 to 24, in construction trades. The Kaspia Group, which plans to open the old Kanbuild Manufactured Home plant in Walsenburg, has agreed to consider hiring these youth once they finish the course.
The Huerfano County Commissioners were told by county administrator John Galusha the project could begin as early as May 1st of this year. It is hoped this program can assist getting jobs for untrained youth in the area and provide opportunities for them to stay and live here.
Meanwhile, the county is going to partner with the Workforce Center in Walsenburg to get 20 youth jobs this summer. The youth will work 24 hours per week for 10 weeks on the county’s trails project as well as other cleanup projects. Larry King and Shane Clouse have agreed to oversee the program.
A new logo could be in the works for Huerfano County. The commissioners like the suggested design, picturing the Spanish Peaks and Goemmer Butte near La Veta with ‘Huerfano County, Colorado” spelled out at the top, “Established 1861” along the bottom and “Spanish Peaks Country” printed within the picture.
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