LAS ANIMAS, Colo. (AP) – Gov. John Hickenlooper visited southeastern Colorado on Tuesday to talk with employees at a rural prison that’s closing because of budget cuts.

Hickenlooper updated prison staff about finding another use for the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility in Las Animas. He also spoke with community leaders in Bent County.

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Closing the prison next year was part of the budget lawmakers approved this year.

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Residents near the prison say it’s a big employer for the region and local officials are worried about the economic impact of its closure. Lawmakers and the governor’s office have been talking with county leaders about finding another use.

Hickenlooper’s office proposed the prison’s closure, saying it’s old and too expensive to operate.

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