Center board approves dental clinic relocation


CENTER— Following two public hearings, one for a zoning change from residential to commercial and the other to become the umbrella organization for financial purposes, Center Town Board approved the zoning and grant measures for the relocation of Center Dental Clinic.
The approval came at the town’s Jan. 22 meeting, Center Town Administrator Brian Lujan reported in a phone conversation Tuesday. The initial stages of the project should begin sometime in late summer.
Dante Gonzales with Valley-Wide Health appeared before the town board in November to present the relocation plan. He explained the present clinic accommodations are too small and the clinic needs to modernize its facilities. He asked Center trustees if the town would oversee the finances for the grant, to be disbursed in February, explaining they will not be expected to contribute any funds.
The clinic will relocate to the former Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall in Center, across from Center Schools. Valley-Wide has already purchased the building “and we got it for a good price,” Gonzales said at the November meeting. The move will increase space for the dental clinic by 1,500 square feet. The renovation of the former worship center will cost about $1 million, Gonzales told the board.  
According to Gonzales, the new facility “will triple our assets.” After the move a hygienist will be available at the clinic five days a week. Currently there is no hygienist at the office on a regular basis. Two “non-licensed” staff members will be hired, and outreach staff also will move to the new office.
The old Center dental office will be expanded for occupation by Saguache County Public Health. County administration and land use offices have relocated to the former Saguache Public Health building in Saguache to accommodate the new county administrator and gain additional work space. The old administration and land use offices in the courthouse will be used for storage and other purposes.

Downtown Colorado
The board also discussed their Downtown Colorado grant Jan. 22 and how to implement it, Lujan said. The grant will help local businesses maximize their prospects for attracting customers and will aid the town in attracting new businesses to Center.
“We have the empty buildings,” Lujan explained. “So we are focusing on Internet development to draw new businesses in.” The grantors listed several factors that would make Center attractive to new businesses:
1. Center has lots of available space to grow franchises and other local businesses.
2. The town’s median age is 30
3. Center is 30 minutes from the Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge.
4. The town has lower rents than other municipalities.
5. The town has recently completed infrastructure improvements and is in the process of completing others.
6. Center is located just off Highways 285 and 112.
The plan is to beef up the town’s Internet presence so that when someone Googles Center, business opportunities and local tourist attractions pop up. Last year Center High School students created a Facebook page for Center to also help them reach their Internet visibility goals.

New fines for dogs at large
Lujan says that beginning immediately, Center residents will be fined if their dogs are caught running loose and they do not have them registered with the town. An increase in vicious and aggressive dogs approaching citizens and greater numbers of dogs running loose on Center streets prompted the new regulations, Lujan said.

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