The Lamar City Council filled the vacancy created by the resignation of former councilmember, Felix Dias, during their March 13th meeting. The council appointed former councilman, Keith Nidey Sr. for Dias who represented Ward lll, but who had to resign as he had moved out of boundary of his service area last year. Nidey will fill the position until the end of Dias’s term. Mayor Roger Stagner said he was the lone applicant for the position and the council appreciates his return.
Pastor Michael Stines, of the Living Covenant Fellowship Church in Lamar, presented plans to help pay for school supplies for Lamar students with the Back 2 School Bash. Stines said the church is seeking donors to help purchase school supplies for the 2017-2018 school year for students, K-8th grade. “We know this is a pretty expensive situation, especially for those families that have several kids going to school at the same time,” he told the council. Sponsorships may be sold to contributing individuals, businesses or churches. Fewer than 1,500 students would be provided with school materials at a cost of approximately $27,601. Some of the purchases will be made online and through the Lamar Wal-Mart, and the plan calls for the remainder of the supplies to be purchased once Wal-Mart offers them at a sale price. The Living Covenant Fellowship has planned an event day on August 5th when students and their parents will be able to fill up their backpacks with supplies. Any leftover supplies will be divided among the schools to be used as needed.
While the City of Lamar continues to remove unsafe or blighted buildings from local neighborhoods as part of a continuing improvement project, the property at 108 North 9th Street in Lamar has been deemed unsafe for human habitation. The council approved a resolution authorizing City Attorney, Garth Nieschburg to take action in Prowers County Court to authorize the residents to be removed from the dwelling within five days of being given notice. City Building Inspector, Craig Brooks, told the council the garage and the single house has no utilities, although the buildings have been occupied.
The council approved an application for a $5,000 DoLA Mini-Grant program to be used for streetscape enhancements and alleyway improvements for downtown Lamar. Community Development Manager, Angie Cue, told the council, Lamar is eligible for the funds when they became a Colorado Main Street Community in 2010. The grant requires a 25% cash match.
A memorandum of understanding between the city and the Colorado University Center for Community Development was forwarded by the council to the URA for the go-ahead to authorize the required matching funds. The $1,500 from the Urban Redevelopment Authority budget will be applied to design work which will tie the completed Pocket Park to the rear parking lot and the Enchanted Forest, south of the Lamar Chamber of Commerce offices. Cue said the early design concepts for the Pocket Park did include those two additional areas which will enhance the Park through the year and help tie the downtown shopping district to the parking area and the Forest and be a means by which chamber activities can be spread into the downtown merchants.
Rick Akers, Lamar Parks and Recreation Director, explained the steps needed to release the funding from the Healthy Places grant for the cash match for the proposed Lamar Loop, Wheels Skate Park, Inspire Grant and Inspire Grant planning. The City of Lamar will become the sub-grantee, working with the Colorado Health Foundation and High Plains Community Health Center which will pass control of the funds over to the City of Lamar. This will allow the city to receive the funds needed to complete the projects. The grant is for $409,595.30. The council authorized the Mayor to sign the agreement.
City Administrator, John Sutherland, reminded the council of several approaching dates including the arrival of spring, Monday, March 20th. The Annual Dust Bowl Marathon is set for Sunday, March 26th. SDS, Southeastern Developmental Services will hold their annual open house for the public from 11am to 2pm at 1111 South 4th Street. Councilmember, Anne-Marie Crampton, took note of the return of Brenda Van Campen to the City in her capacity as assistant to the City Administrator. Brenda Van Campen has been rehabilitating for numerous months from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident last year. The council and the audience gave her a round of applause on her return to city activities. Sutherland and Mayor Stagner noted the council had received six applications for the City of Lamar Municipal Court Judge in light of the expired term of Judge Kim Verhoff, who is eligible to re-apply for consideration. Two or three finalists will be selected for interviews and the council will discuss their choices during an executive session before the end of the month.
By Russ Baldwin
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