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Archuleta County adopts development action plan

A new Community Development Action Plan (CDAP) is in the books for Archuleta County following months of preparation.

The document is 24 pages, containing a total of 57 projects in Archuleta County, separated into various categories and ranked with high, medium or low priorities.

For each project, listed are the rank, a list of primary partners, available resources, jobs, and expected outcomes and actions.

Following is the category and subcategory breakdown of the 57 projects.

• In the Public Infrastructure realm are 13 projects, broken down into the following subcategories.

Public Infrastructure: five projects, primarily dealing with water, sewer, the county landfill and town geothermal heating system.

Transportation: six projects, including those from the Colorado Department of Transportation and Archuleta County, public transit, airport plans and more.

Telecommunications: two projects, including the ongoing governmental broadband project (see related article) and improved emergency telecommunication services.

• In the Services category are 25 projects, which are further categorized as follows.

Childcare: one project, which looks to expand early childcare and education.

Education and Culture: two projects, dealing with higher education, career training and creating a cultural plan.

Health and Human Services: six projects, including ways to meet the growing needs of senior citizens and veterans, expand primary care resources, reduce hunger and increase food health, and implement tele-health projects.

Land Use: six projects, including capital and long-term planning for the town, county, regional trails, economic areas, and biodiversity/ecosystem mapping and wildlife habitat.

Public lands: one project, which seeks designation of Chimney Rock Archaeological Area as a national monument.

Public/Private Lands: one project, to maintain sustainability of Ponderosa pine and pinon forest.

Parks and Recreation: five projects dealing with area trails, recreation facilities and river restoration projects.

Public Safety: two projects dealing with floodplain standards, river and wetland protection and continuing work on a new animal adoption center.

Historic Preservation: one project, to restore the old junior high school building.

• Under the Economic Development umbrella are 19 projects.

Economic Development: four projects, including geothermal energy work, and economic development plans and organizations.

Business Development: three projects, focusing on growing and retaining existing businesses, downtown revitalization, and developing investment programs to keep money local.

Business Expansion/Retention: two projects, which look to identify impacts and strategies for large-format retailers and focus on a business loan fund.

Infrastructure: four projects, including improvement and expansion of jail and judicial facilities, county administration facility improvement, county fairgrounds improvement and Reservoir Hill improvement.

Tourism: one project, to promote local and regional tourism and cultural assets.

Workforce: one project, with a goal of local workforce development and retention.

Agriculture: two projects, dealing with supporting a regional agricultural economy and the geothermal greenhouse project.

Housing: two projects, focusing on affordable, substandard and senior housing.

In discussing the CDAP, Commissioner Michael Whiting noted that the presence of a project on the list can often help with grant opportunities, though the list is often overlooked by the public.

Commissioner Clifford Lucero said he thought the community was thorough in completing past updates of the CDAP, but added he believes the process was more thorough this time.

The CDAP update has been a months-long project by a number of entities (it was last updated in 2009) and has included several public meetings.

Despite that, audience members Bill Hudson and Muriel Eason requested an opportunity to see the final draft of the plan before its approval, as well as a meeting at which the commissioners could present the final draft and take comment on it.

The commissioners, however, were ready to approve the plan, citing many opportunities for public input in the planning process.

“I think now is the time to do it,” said Commissioner Steve Wadley.

Region 9 representative Laura Lewis Marchino noted there are ways to add projects to the plan between updates.

Whiting said that, while he agreed “in principle” with the audience members, he said a line-by-line review had been completed, but admitted, “It’s not perfect.”

“It’s time,” Lucero said, adding, “I’m ready to adopt this thing, as well.”

It was then restated that projects could be added, likely as an addendum, while County Attorney Todd Starr said projects, likewise, could likely be taken out of the plan if need be, though he didn’t believe that had been done in the past.

With that, the plan was approved with an unanimous vote of the BoCC.

After approval, the plan now becomes an element in the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy which, according to the Region 9 Economic Development District’s website, “provides detailed economic and demographic profiles for the counties of Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, San Juan and the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribes. The purpose of the CEDS is to create a plan for retaining and creating better paying jobs, fostering stable and more diversified economies, as well as maintaining and improving the quality of life in Southwest Colorado. The CEDS planning process provides an opportunity for economic development stakeholders, and the community at-large, to unite behind a vision that creates long-term economic growth and stability, while protecting the natural and social assets that makes the region distinct and attractive.”

Archuleta County’s CDAP is available to download at www.archuletacounty.org and on the Region 9 website, www.scan.org.

randi@pagosasun.com

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