Governor Will Get Fort Lyon Redevelopment Plan After All

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[May 6, 2013]  After a long and twisting road that saw the proposal die not once but twice, Governor John Hickenlooper will get to sign off on his plan to redevelop the former Fort Lyon prison as a rehabilitation facility for the chronically homeless.

[Read past coverage of the Fort Lyon redevelopment proposal here.]

Hickenlooper originally floated the idea as part of his 2013-14 budget proposal, billing it as a way to help the homeless and boost the economy of a region devastated by the prison’s closure. But the plan didn’t catch on with members of the Joint Budget Committee who questioned its cost and whether the idea would actually achieve either goal.

After that defeat, the proposal next appeared as a bill in the House and sailed through the legislative process before running aground in the Senate’s Appropriations committee last Friday.

Only hours later, the idea got a third shot, when a bipartisan team of representatives successfully amended the meat of the proposal onto a bill dealing with Corrections officer staffing.

The amended bill returned to the Senate for concurrence Monday night, bypassing the fateful Appropriations Committee, and was re-approved after passionate debate on a vote of 21-14.

"The passage of this bill guarantees a future for Ft. Lyon and creates great jobs for Bent County and Southern Colorado while addressing the critical needs of Colorado’s homeless,” Senator Angela Giron, one of the architects of the amendment said in a statement.

Opponents of the proposal, especially members of the Joint Budget Committee, criticized the bill’s resurrection as an end run around the proper legislative process.