Forty concerned citizens attended "Design the Future - Working Together to Revitalize the Lower Arkansas Valley" April 6 at the John Rawlings Heritage Center.

County Commissioner Kim Macdonnell welcomed the group and introduced Fort Lyon Program Manager Cassy Westmoreland and Denver University graduate students Ellie Adelman and Bryce Anderson-Gregson.

The graduate students are involved in a social enterprise fellowship and are charged with helping to create an assessment of the Fort Lyon program, find the gaps, learn what the community needs and wants are and what could be done better. They will conclude the project and present their final paper in May.

Adelman and Anderson-Gregson led the the day-long session and were open to criticisms of the Fort Lyon program. Among the suggestions were better security, more health services available and the need for Fort Lyon and the community to reach out to each other and work together for the betterment of both.

All the county commissioners attended the sessions as well as La Junta Economic Development Coordinator Danielle Berg, Bent County Foundation Executive Director Sammie George, Urban Renewal Chairman John Thomas and other concerned citizens.

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) supports the Fort Lyon program and is working towards full-utilization of the Fort Lyon campus and is exploring a wide range of potential uses of the campus that will mutually benefit the Fort Lyon residents and local community as well as help improve the economy.