Huerfano County

Huerfano County
Spanish Peaks Country

Huerfano County was a crossroads in the American west long before the Europeans arrived. Taos Pueblo, in northern New Mexico, has been a major Native American trading center for over 1,000 years. Trading routes spread out from Taos in all directions but one of the most used trails headed north from Taos into the San Luis Valley and crossed east over the Sangre de Cristo’s at Sangre de Cristo Pass, through the gap between Rough Mountain and Sheep Mountain. From there it went down Oak Creek to the Huerfano River, around to the eastern edge of the Wet Mountains and then north along the Wets and the Front Range to the South Platte River. There the trail forked, one branch heading north into Wyoming and Montana, the other following the South Platte into Nebraska.

In the beginning of the Colorado Territory days, Huerfano County was much larger, stretching from the Arkansas River south to New Mexico and from the Kansas border to the mountains, but over time it was cut up and portions of the original county became entire new counties. In the earliest days of American “ownership,” Badito was still the main center of business and was the official county seat for a couple of years, before Walsenburg became more established and the county offices were moved there (as the fortunes of the fur trade declined, so did Badito). These days, Walsenburg is a hub with roads heading cross-country in all directions. Because of the intersection of the I-25 with US 160 and State Highways 10 and 69, over 4 million vehicles per year make the drive down Main Street.

Current Projects

  • Housing.  We intend to start construction on our Single-Family Housing Project in Walsenburg next year.  We are also exploring options, partnerships, and funding for multifamily housing in both Walsenburg and La Veta. 
  • Broadband.  With the Cuchara Project underway our focus is shifting to expanding and improving service throughout the County.  Providing improved wireless service using two extra County‐owned towers is likely the next project.  A long-term project to run fiber down Highway 69 is still on our radar.
  • Innovation Spaces.  We are working with La Veta RE‐2 Schools and Two Peaks Fitness to repurpose the Brunelli Gymnasium to include a makerspace and co‐working space.  We also intend a similar project for Walsenburg and look forward to defining that project in the future. 
  • Industrial Park.  We continue to need development‐ready industrial sites in the County.  Our location and access to transportation corridors gives us a natural advantage that we cannot presently take advantage of because of this lack of sites.  Should an opportunity arise we must be able to vet it and where sound, take advantage.
Current Projects

Broadband

Broadband The importance of rural broadband is not in dispute. In a post-COVID world, high-speed connectivity will increasingly define have and have-not communities. A lack of reliable broadband (defined as a MINIMUM 25 Mbps download speed) will handicap economic development not only for existing businesses and industry but will also serve as a barrier to

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

CEDS We are at the beginning of our process to update the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). We know from the previous CEDS and from existing strategic studies that the issue of broadband access will be an important priority. Here is a high level conceptual discussion of the issue. We will use this part