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Prison closing spurs action

by Larry Patrick

WALSENBURG- The monthly meeting of the CCT (City, County & Town) committee brought numerous ideas of what can be done now that CCA has announced the closing of their prison.

    County Commissioner Art Bobian said the closing allows the County to apply for emergency monies from the state of Colorado. Funds are available to a community when they are threatened with the loss of 10% or more of local jobs from an industry closure.

    Numerous ideas were discussed that could help Huerfano County weather the loss of the CCA prison and how to use the emergency monies. Three ideas were discussed:

1. Getting the youth camp from the state of Colorado and use it for a detox center to provide some good paying jobs. The frontage land across from Lathrop State Park could then be used to build a new nursing home.

2. Another idea was to build a park on land north of Hwy 10 and use displaced workers for that project.

3. Land west of the Acorn Truck Stop has been offered for an industrial park but it needs water, sewer and electricity. Funds could be used to build the sewer line for the Northlands and would provide infrastructure for an industrial park and also allow development of motels and restaurants in the Northlands area. The city needs 3-4 million dollars for that to happen.

    Huerfano County Administrator John Galusha says the county could be in line for $400,000 to several million dollars, depending on what the state agency decides to offer.

   The Regional Building Authority Board reported that 43 contractors have been licensed to do work in Huerfano County. Walsenburg, La Veta and the County are trying to get uniformity in licensing people to do building and repair work for residents and businesses.