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Lamar Partnership Inc.- Buxton Group Update

 

Main Street Lamar, Co

 

Angie Cue, Lamar’s Community Development Director, provided the City Council with an update on the Buxton Retail Recruitment program. Buxton was hired by the city to assess demographic purchasing information in the area which could be used by local retailers to fine tune their marketing approach and merchandise and to provide information about franchise businesses which would be a good match for Lamar.

“We’re approaching our two year agreement in September and I’m applying for REDI funds from DoLA for a $35,000 grant to continue the contract,” Cue explained to the council this past Monday, July 24th.  She added that a $15,000 match would be needed, either from the city or from Prowers Economic Prosperity, (PEP) and that responsibility will have to be worked out.

Cue said Buxton has added a social media marketing tool which provides 25 subscriptions to an app which businesses can access to receive specific marketing information for their own operation. She explained it is another tool to attract new customers based on current buying trends provided by Buxton.

From the initial 20 business prospects provided by Buxton, Cue explained that 14 are somewhat active in their interest for locating in Lamar. “They are responsive to our contact and are returning my calls and emails, so we’re still communicating with them,” she said.  Of the 14, seven are active and considering Lamar for a higher level of reviewing our sales data and have been asking about property availabilities and other questions about Lamar.  Cue said she’s received four outright “No’s” and another five said they have no plans for expansion at this time.  “Buxton has replaced those with new prospects for us and with our annual renewal, we’ll receive another 20 to pursue,” she stated.

Roof repairs are underway on several Lamar businesses that requested funding for their projects. The funds were granted by the Lamar Redevelopment Authority, working with the assistance of Cue.  One repair project has been set back to start in early September and one business has had their roof repairs completed at this time.

She recapped the July 13th grand opening at the Shore Arts Center Park, locally called the Pocket Park.  “Despite the rains and the wind, we had a good night and the Ark Valley Wind and Percussion Ensemble now hopes to entertain through the fall with events on the first Friday of the month.  “Moving the paving bricks into the first phase of construction has allowed the park to be used and the Southeast Arts Council is working to add artistic shade structures and artistic visuals and Jeremy Cooper who provided the sculptures has met with them.”  Cue said she’s seeking funds to pay for more street scape elements as well as some basics such as trash cans, tables and additional seating.  She explained that if anyone wants to book the park for their own event, they can contact the Lamar Community Building at 336-2774.

Cue noted the City of Lamar has received an upgraded designation to a Certified Local Government status under the Colorado Main Street program which helps expand local government involvement in historic preservation activities. “We want to put the local depot which houses the Welcome Center and Chamber of Commerce on a historic register list.  We think a public municipal building would be an easier starting point and move to a commercial building later,” she said.   Cue said the CLG designation will aid with access to grant funding and hopes to apply for a no-match grant to expand upon an earlier downtown survey to include one for the entire city.  “We’d like to be able to work on some more buildings to be able to restore some of the historic characteristics of the city,” she said.

By Russ Baldwin

 

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