City on board with CBA land acquisition plan

WALSENBURG — Walsenburg City Council Tuesday night voted unanimously to author a Letter of Intent, supporting a proposal that would see the city, the State of Colorado, and The Career Building Academy participate in a land and structures deal that would, if approved, eventually turn over the buildings and property at the former youth facility to the trade and academic training school. City administration wants to see a formal closing with all participants involved so, in Walsenburg Administrator David Johnston’s words, “the city would be a landlord for about 20 minutes.” The proposal, involving state and local government, and the non-profit academy, would see the city sell the land the youth facility sits on to the academy, sell another portion of land located north of Hwy. 160 in Lathrop State Park to the state, and transfer ownership of the actual buildings on the youth facility property to the academy after those buildings are deeded to the city by the State of Colorado. Directors of the CBA, would use the buildings as collateral for a proposed USDA

loan to pay for the land purchase from the City of Walsenburg. The project involves about 80 acres and would bring much needed monies into Walsenburg’s General Fund. Rick Johnson, founder and president of CBA, attended the council meeting Tuesday night, and said while a late start this year saw enrollment goals missed, the academy is expanding with proposed campuses in Peyton and Yampa, Colorado. This would bring even more students to the trade and educational facility in Walsenburg in the future. All of the principals involved hope to have the project finalized and ready for closing by fall of 2014. The eight council members present Tuesday night unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Walsenburg Downtown Revitalization Committee and Downtown GID (General Improvement District) for the pocket park project. The memo outlines responsibilities for both entities and includes plans for Heritage Park as well. Financial concerns, specifically cost of maintenance that could be incurred by the city, were somewhat alleviated with inclusion of a maintenance expenditure line item in the amount of ten percent of the annual mil levy revenue generated by the Downtown GID. The committee has ambitious plans for development of the pocket park, and wants to eventually tie in additional design and upgrades to Heritage Park to enhance the downtown experience in Walsenburg for tourists and residents. In other business the council agreed to distribute an undetermined number of Walsenburg Wild Water Passes to young volunteers, and chaperons coming to the community July 14 through 18 to assist residents with outside clean up projects. This is the second year of the program sponsored by New Hope Community Church. Another Walsenburg Wild Waters day pass promotion involving Huerfano County LiveWell, Spanish Peaks Library District and the Huerfano World Journal promoting summer reading and healthy activity will be discussed in depth this afternoon with pool committee city council members Nick Vigil and Charles Montoya and pool manger Pauline Frank. That meeting is set for 1 pm at city hall. City council unanimously voted to appoint former city council member and former chairman of the city council’s finance committee, James Moore to the open position of City Treasurer. Moore was the only applicant for the job after it had been re-advertised.