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Walsenburg annexes Northlands

by Brian Orr

WALSENBURG- In a deal 12 years in the making, the City of Walsenburg formally annexed the triangular chunk of land just to its north.  Three of the principal parties that have been pushing the project; Bill Shepard, Tom Powell and Tom Cave, were on hand to hear the final vote to expand the City’s borders, with Mayor Edi Sheldon casting the last ballot with “without question; yes!”

    Turning to other City business, the Council listened as Councilwoman Edi Flanagin reported her discussions with Walsenburg’s water lawyers.  the City’s water rights are in good shape. The few water court cases the City is involved in won’t reach the dockets until 2010. The replacement valve for Martin Lake has more hoops to jump through, and won’t be in place until 2010.  The City should begin to seriously look for new storage sites for the water they are letting slip away.

    City Administrator Eric Pearson told the Council that 50 to 75 houses are slated to have their water cut off, and that he has never heard such foul language used, as that by people coming in to complain.  Several had to be escorted off the premises by the police.

    Pearson also informed the Council about a New Energy Communities (NEC) grant that Pueblo, Huerfano and Las Animas counties will all be competing for.  The grant money would go towards building a new multi-jurisdictional campus for local governments to use.  He asked if the City would like to support the endeavor, and they said yes.

    Local businessman Rich McEntee came before the Council to honor a pledge he made last year during Walsenburg’s Waikiki Days to donate   money towards a water feature at Walsenburg Wild Waters.  His matching donation of $4,675 brought the total raised up to $13,043, which will be matched by the Gates Foundation.  In addition, McEntee will donate $8,043 to the Walsenburg Golf Course to be used for the Walsenburg Youth Golf Program, to pay for memberships in 2009.

    Finally, Pearson told the Council that the City’s waste treatment plant has been cleared by the State on its proposed site, and that construction plans are 60% done.