by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG- The second public meeting dealing with a new Walsenburg Comprehensive Plan, was held last week at the Huerfano County Community Center. Approximately 25 people were in attendance to discuss the surveys collected from the first meeting held earlier this year. This meeting was to discuss the results and fine-tune those results into moving the city forward. Main items of discussion included growth, land use, community image, economic development, transportation and recreation.
According to the 170 surveys received from the first report to Plan Tools, the agency compiling the Comprehensive Plan, over 70% of residents would like to see Walsenburg grow from its current 4,000 residents to approximately 5,000-8,000 people. The main concerns included getting more business, jobs, and job training for the area. How to make downtown stronger also went along the lines of improving the economic development desires of many people who took the survey. Absent from the meeting however were downtown retailers to give their input on their ideas and needs but two Chamber of Commerce board members were in attendance.
Some of the other results from the initial survey showed that the majority of 170 surveys included those residing and working in Walsenburg. Attracting new business or educational opportunities was the number one thing that people said they would like to see money spent on to improve. Maintaining streets was second. The one thing liked most about Walsenburg was its small town atmosphere (40%). What people liked least about the city was the lack of jobs and businesses, 34%. New development, jobs and cleanup of the town were three of the top priorities cited by people taking the survey questionnaire.
The two-hour meeting focused on numerous other issues, which also include zoning rules & regulations, annexation, city cleanup, streets and water. Two more public hearings are slated for this year to help finalize the Comprehensive Plan, which is a road map for local officials to be able to assist in the development of Walsenburg in the next 10-20 years.