Bent County officials are busy sketching out their next steps now that closure of Fort Lyon Correctional Facility is imminent.
The good news is leaders have more time to attract a new tenant to the building than originally thought. That’s because the Joint Budget Committee decided earlier this week change the closure date of the prison to March 1, 2011.
A group that represents 22 Southern Colorado counties opposes a move by Governor John Hickenlooper to close a prison in Las Animas.
Action 22 said yesterday that it opposes closing the Fort Lyon correctional facility in an area that needs jobs and where 14 counties have high poverty levels. Hickenlooper said in his budget proposal this week that closing the prison would cut 149 jobs. But Bill Long, a commissioner in Bent County where the prison is located, says the move would not only result in lost jobs, but would also devastate the local economy.