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Financing for Hotel Feasibility Study Approved, Las Brisas Granted Liquor License.

Municipal Offices in Lamar

 

The Lamar Redevelopment Authority approved a dollar match of $1,875 with Prowers Economic Prosperity, to help fund a $7,500 hotel feasibility study for Lamar. Angie Cue, Community Development Director, explained that the study will help determine if Lamar can support a second high end motel to attract visitors and travelers as a destination site, rather than a simple overnight stay while passing through town.

Southeast Colorado Enterprise Development (SECED) provides a planning and feasibility study grant opportunity on a dollar for dollar match. Because the financing of the study would be local, it would be available for future uses for other hotel considerations in Lamar and the surrounding area. At present, Lamar has just over 400 available motel rooms.

Answering a question from an Authority member, Cue said current plans do not include a restaurant for the hotel but it might happen indirectly, “There could be a small setting for meals of perhaps four or five tables and a meeting room that could accommodate upwards of 100 persons. Right now the thought is that a hotel of this manner could influence a restaurant chain to consider Lamar as a potential site.” She added that the development of such a hotel could function as a magnet to attract other service related ventures to the area. The northern end of Lamar is under consideration, but she added that the southern part of Lamar has not been ruled out. City Administrator, John Sutherland, commented that the recommendation for a more expensive motel follows the advice that the community is better off marketing to a higher income level than dropping below it in Lamar.

On another Authority matter, Cue said the cost for a new roof for Flatland Rentals, came in under replacement costs approved by the Authority, but once the roof was removed, damage to the duct works and heating system was discovered. The Authority allowed the funds that were not spent on the roof, $1,076, to be carried over into repairs on the newly discovered damage.

Chris Wilkinson, one of the proponents for Ordinance 2A allowing for a 5% room tax on Lamar motels, addressed the council, thanking them for having the foresight and boldness to promote a new way to develop funding for economic development in the city. The measure was defeated in the November General Election by a slim margin. “Perhaps we didn’t get the message out to enough residents so they would understand they wouldn’t be taxed by the ordinance’s passage. I think there may be a chance to look forward to new developments on this by 2019,” he said. He also invited the 811 persons who voted against the ordinance to put forth their ideas on how to raise funding for community improvements for Lamar. “That’s a loss of about $400,000 to the community by the time the next voting cycle will come around,” Wilkinson stated.

Shae Emick, the new owner of Las Brisas Restaurant at 302 South Main in Lamar, had her New Hotel/Restaurant Liquor License request approved by the Lamar City Council following a public hearing. Emick purchased the restaurant in June of this year and submitted her license application in October. The council stipulated that those employees who will serve liquor in her restaurant must be TIPS certified before she receives the licenses, perhaps 45 days from now before the paperwork has been completed and a TIPS training session is opened.

Administrator John Sutherland outlined the proposal submitted by the CDOT Bustang Outrider program bus service between Lamar and Pueblo in the absence of the CDOT representative. Sutherland said there will be a daily service beginning early in January that will connect Lamar from the Welcome Center Parking Lot to the Transportation Center in Pueblo. The service will also include additional stops in towns along Highway 50. “I’m not certain about the cost, but I believe it will be less than $50 for roundtrip service,” he explained. Sutherland said the plans call for passenger pick-up between 8 and 9am at the Welcome Center and the return bus would arrive in Lamar by 5pm.

Sutherland was re-appointed to a four year term on the Arkansas River Power Authority Board of Directors by the council. His current term will expire at the end of this year. The Administrator said he felt that now that the ARPA lawsuit with the City had been resolved, there should be some new developments regarding power supply for member cities. “There’s been discussion of developing solar power. If we can replace what we used to have with solar or wind power, it would be an intriguing idea for the future.”

Lamar Community College prepared a memorandum of understanding with Lamar Fire and Emergency Services to clarify the policies and practice of fire code review, inspections and final approval of new construction and alterations to existing buildings at LCC. The MOU specifies that the college will be under the jurisdiction of the City of Lamar Fire Department and the Fire Chief.

The council approved Resolution 17-11-02 which sets the water deposit interest rates per regulations set forth by the Public Utilities Commission for Colorado. The interest rate for 2018 is 1%, up from 0.34% from 2017.

Several miscellaneous items were discussed including development of an access path for the handicapped floating dock at North Gateway Park. Parks and Recreation Director, Rick Akers said plans are underway to connect the dock with the mainland. The Public Works Department will also flush the sewer line at the lift station that serves Quail Ridge off Memorial Drive as residents have noticed an odor emanating from that area. Sutherland suggested a periodic check on that area as well as the lift station adjacent to McKorkle’s Field that serves the road leading to the airport. That area has experienced problems for a number of years.

The council went into executive sessions to discuss a personnel matter at the conclusion of the regular meeting as well as recommendations for future negotiations on behalf of the city.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyFeaturedRecreationTourismTransportationUtilities

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