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Council Discusses EPA-Brownfield Grant Application

Used to be Known as the Gay Way and The Saloon

Used to be Known as the Gay Way and The Saloon

Angie Cue, Community Development Director, briefed the Lamar City Council on a grant application for funding from the Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Program, created by the EPA. Communities are eligible for grants to remedy the effects of sites which have a negative impact on their surroundings, usually through proximity, infrastructure connections and ways that limit the economic prosperity of their surroundings.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a brownfield as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant”. The area under discussion is the former Opal’s pub at 1310 North Main in Lamar.  Administrator Sutherland told the council the owner has approved the application.  While taking down the building is one of the more logical options, there was no specific discussion about a course of action to follow at this time and the application will be reviewed for any potential changes.

Cue presented a four page outline which will be used to help inform prospective businesses about the various incentives available to them from the City of Lamar. The incentives are more in the form of tax breaks.  Cue said, “I’m compiling my toolbox for future business and jobs development and this will be one of the more important tools I can put into play.”  There is no ready dollar amount listed as a guideline, which Sutherland stated, is a sensible decision as it allows flexibility for discussion depending on the size and scope of the business venture being considered.  As some council members had not had the opportunity to review the incentive pamphlet, the decision was made to delay approval until the next council meeting on August 22nd.

The council set Monday, August 22nd for a public hearing for a beer garden request for this year’s Oktoberfest, hosted by the Lamar Chamber of Commerce. This year’s annual event is scheduled for September 24th.  The beer garden will run from 10am to 9pm at the Chamber offices on East Beech Street.

The council voted to authorize $1,175 to purchase the Fuel Master Maintenance Agreement Contract for a fuel master system which the city purchased last February. It’s designed to keep track of how much fuel is used per department in the city.  However, some problems developed with software once the city upgraded its computer system to Windows 10.  The maintenance agreement expired in February, and according to City Administrator, John Sutherland, the city would be charged $134/hour just to talk with a company tech.

Six bicycle racks will be available for Lamar in the near future. The city was approved to receive the racks from an earlier application sent to the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway Committee in 2012.  The six racks are valued at $675 and will be located at:  The Welcome Center, Prowers County Courthouse, Bi-Centennial Park, Sports 4-Plex, Pikes Tower at Willow Creek Park and the municipal parking lot in the rear of the downtown Pocket Park.  Councilwoman Crampton asked if one of the racks could be located at the Lamar Community College’s Wellness Center, due to the amount of bike traffic at the school.  Angie Cue, Community Development Director, said the request would be taken into consideration if some of the other locations don’t receive much use.

Craig Brooks was hired as the City of Lamar’s Building Codes Official; he was introduced to the council by Administrator, John Sutherland, “Craig has been working with the city on an interim basis before we selected him for the position. He’s the best choice from the applicants and Craig has already been making some good changes on the way we set up our building permits and other applications.”

Councilwoman Anne-Marie Crampton was designed by the council to serve as the city’s representative to the Colorado Municipal League’s Legal Policy Committee. This is a position she has held for the past several years.

Sutherland provided some updates on future activities in the community: The annual Sand and Sage Fair and Rodeo is underway through August 13th, featuring a carnival at the fairgrounds and the traditional parade down Main Street, beginning at 10am on August 13th.  This year’s theme is “Country Nights, Carnival Lights”.

The Lamar FFA breakfasts will be served from the Home Ec. Building starting at 7am this Thursday and Friday.  A community blood drive in honor of the VanCampen family is set for Tuesday, August 16th at the Lamar Christian Church from 11:300am to 4:30pm; a Back to School Community Block Party will be held Saturday, August 20th at the downtown Pocket Park from 4pm to 6pm.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyFeaturedHealth

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