Mar 2, 2011 7:29 PM by Greg Boyce

Hickenlooper seems to soften on closing prison

Governor John Hickenlooper spent the day in the lower Arkansas Valley, listening to concerns about closing the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility near Las Animas.

Hickenlooper toured the prison this morning, then met with local officials.  The state plans to assign about 200 prison employees to other facilities.  Bent County leaders believe the unemployment rate there would go up to 16 percent if the prison closes.

At one point he seemed to soften the plan to close the prison in August.  "Maybe we can go back and keep looking and see if we can find one time money and ways to buy some time. Obviously we realize the impact," said Hickenlooper.

Closing the prison would save an estimated $6 million a year.


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