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Shore Arts Center Park Grand Opening, Hold the Rain

Grand Opening at Shore Arts Center Park

Southeast Colorado residents are ready for anything, especially weather on the move. That was the case for the Grand Opening of the Shore Arts Center Park in downtown Lamar this past Thursday evening, July 13th.

Valley Jazz Band

The festivities began at 6pm with residents viewing the complete make-over of what had been just a gravel parking lot a year before. Several people brought their own lawn chairs, while most residents made use of the built-in seating constructed against the elevated garden and running down the middle of the park.  There were plenty of snacks available and people enjoyed a bite while looking at the artwork displays of Jeremy Cooper, showcased in a tent near the downtown entrance as well as two agriculturally-oriented sculptures.

Representatives from different local departments were on hand, including members of the Lamar City Council as well as Mayor Roger Stagner, City Administrator John Sutherland, Parks and Rec Director Rick Akers, Prowers County Commissioner Wendy Buxton-Andrade, PEP Executive Director Eric Depperschmidt and Chamber of Commerce Directors, Ginger Coberley and Valerie Baldwin.

City Administrator John Sutherland

Then, of course, came the winds and the rain. By drops, at first, which caught everyone’s attention; and the usual gusts of wind began to pick up as well as more rain which prompted a call to action.  Food and art displays were quickly moved into the Shore Arts Center, the Valley Jazz Orchestra rolled their instruments and the piano indoors and several citizens followed.

The rain was still tolerable at that point, good enough for City Administrator Sutherland to express thanks to all the participants who made the former ‘pocket park’ into a new reality and a showcase for how a community can transform a simple parking lot into an attractive and purpose-driven gathering spot for the community. Shore Arts Center Director, Trevor LaCost and artist Jeremy Cooper addressed the audience with thanks for all the effort and cooperation it took to bring the park into reality.  LaCost thanked Angie Cue, Community Development Director, for her efforts to integrate so many different parties into a focused group with one objective.

The park is not complete yet, almost, but not quite, as future funding will add some needed canopy shade, stage lighting and additional touches for the downtown park.

By Russ Baldwin

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