By Jody Shadduck-McNally
Happy New Year Larimer County! As we start the new year, we reflect on the past year while looking forward to the possibilities to come in 2024.
In January we also celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s extraordinary legacy, an opportunity to reflect on the value of building belonging in our communities. In Larimer County, we continue to address the injustices he fought against decades ago. Honoring Dr. King’s memory means striving for hope, healing, human dignity, justice, equity, belonging, and service within our community. Dr. King envisioned a nation of equality and dedicated his life to social justice and economic opportunities for all. To honor his legacy, I spent MLK Day along with my other two commissioners in service to our county, treating it as a day “on” rather than a day off.
I’d like to reflect on a few milestones in 2023. In September, we cut the ribbon on the Larimer County Behavioral Health Services Longview Acute Care Center. SummitStone Health Partners will provide services at the Longview Acute Care Center which started on Dec. 2, 2023. In the first 36 days, 488 people were seen at the Longview Campus. Of those, over 75% were drive-up clients, 200 of the 488 were admitted and the rest were stabilized without overnight stays.
Larimer County has partnered with the Health District of Northern Colorado, Colorado Health Institute, and SummitStone Health to complete a Community Master Plan 2.0 for Behavioral Health, building on the progress from the Master Plan of 2018. We are embarking on the 2.0 Community Master Plan as a continuation of our deep commitment to understanding the evolving needs of our behavioral health landscape.
Another milestone for 2024 is the start of our new Strategic Plan for 2024-2028. In 2023, we had a very successful Community Leaders Summit at The Ranch Events Complex with over 100 participants. This feedback formed our initial community goals and objectives. We are continuing to collect input from our communities as we fine-tune this plan for Larimer County. We are excited about the community connectedness portion that we hope will bring some increased sense of belonging to our residents. You can learn more here: https://www.larimer.gov/performance-budget-and-strategy/strategicplan/2024-2028
One last milestone from 2023 is the 20th Anniversary of The Ranch Events Complex. The arena was rebranded as the Blue Arena recognizing our new partnership with Blue Federal Credit Union. Also, our Larimer County Fair & Rodeo celebrated their 140th and 75th Anniversaries collectively. I am proud our Larimer County Rodeo won the Mountain States Midsize Rodeo of the Year for 2023 from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). We are grateful for the volunteers who make our annual fair and rodeo a wonderful event for our community. Heading into 2024, residents and visitors alike will see continued progress on the Ranch at the Larimer County Fairgrounds.
In the new year, I am filled with hope for the future of our county. I have confidence that our collaborative efforts and spirit will have a positive impact on our county. Together we are better, and I believe we are building a stronger, more resilient community for all. I am excited to work hard on your behalf in 2024. Thank you for your engagement and continued support.
Jody Shadduck McNally is a Larimer County commissioner representing all of Larimer County