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Tom Donnelly is a Larimer County Commissioner representing southern Larimer County.
There’s a bustle on the street, the lights are up, and the stores are busier than usual. It’s the time when we think about the joy of celebrating the holiday season. At Larimer County, along with celebrating the season, we celebrate our accomplishments this past year, while looking forward to the future with a few resolutions, too. Here are a few thoughts for the year ahead.
Good transportation is crucial as northern Colorado grows. We will continue working on northern I-25 to improve travel on this important artery of commerce which is essential for economic development. For example, improvements like the recently completed climbing lane in Berthoud have already helped relieve the traffic backup on that part of the highway. The future widening of the highway between Fort Collins and Loveland will also help with traffic congestion.
We resolve to continue our work and partnerships in the community to close the gaps in mental health treatment in Larimer County. Far too many people affected with mental health issues have few access options to deal with depression, suicide, addiction, and other mental health challenges that can be treated. We’ll make every effort to address this all-important issue.
Our Community Corrections Department, and our Human Services Department continue to perform better than other counties in Colorado, and with better outcomes. For example, in the 10 big population counties in our state, Larimer County Human Services has the fewest number of children in congregate care [residential or group home care] on an average daily population, and the smallest percentage of children in congregate care compared to all children open to child welfare in the county. Larimer County will continue to find the best ways to serve our citizens in these areas, and strive toward keeping kids with families.
In the fall of 2018, residents in southern Larimer County will have a brand-new, 49,000 square-foot modern facility to conduct county business. After years of planning, we look forward to serving residents who live in south Larimer County with the same fast, innovative services already offered in Fort Collins.
Larimer County recently partnered with the City of Fort Collins, and the City of Loveland in opening the first paved trail connecting Loveland and Fort Collins and each city’s extensive trail network. It’s no secret recreational opportunities, open lands, and natural resources make Larimer County a great place to live. Our work will continue toward preserving these resources. Also, this year Larimer County was able to purchase and preserve the 211 acre Malchow Farm in Berthoud for its agricultural, scenic and historical value, along with its water rights for continued agricultural use. Stewardship of natural resources is key to the quality of life in Larimer County we all enjoy.
Voters recently approved a sales tax extension for the Larimer County Fairgrounds — also known as the Ranch — this past November. We are thankful to the citizens of Larimer County for voting to extend this tax, and their desire to support an outstanding multi-purpose facility in northern Colorado. With our 20-year Master Plan for the Ranch, we’ll work to keep this facility contemporary and well-maintained, while providing youth and 4H programing, and preserving our western heritage.
Finally, a principal reason we are able to accomplish so much at Larimer County is through the dedication, innovation and hard work from all our employees. Happy Holidays to all.