Planning and Zoning Commission to Discuss WPA Buildings for Community Corrections Site

WPA Buildings on East Maple Street

WPA Buildings on East Maple Street

After years of lying idle, the WPA Buildings on East Maple Street in Lamar may be put to use. Doug Carrigan, CEO of ATC, Advantage Treatment Center in Sterling, Colorado, addressed the Lamar City Council during a work session earlier this month and outlined a concept for a 30-40 bed facility in town. At that time, Carrigan had stated that he was looking at several sites in the area. Carrigan is the executive director of the Sterling facility and informed the council he believes the Lamar community would benefit from a similar program. He described the proposed facility as a type of halfway house which would serve clients from the southeast Colorado region who are on parole or probation and would be housed under strict guidelines regarding their movements in the community. The proposed facility would hold from 30 to 40 clients and provide jobs for about two dozen persons who have been trained.

Carrigan met in executive session with the Prowers County Commissioners on Monday, March 14th for determining positions relative to matters than may be subject to negotiations; developing strategy for negotiations; and instructing negotiators.

Carrigan has applied to the Lamar Planning and Zoning Commission for a zoning change for the 3.55 acre site at 800 East Maple Street from R-3 Residential, to I-1 Industrial. The complex was constructed under the WPA, Works Progress Administration program instituted by President Roosevelt during the Great Depression.  The Pike Tower in Willow Creek Park was another structure developed under that jobs-creation program. The commission will meet in regular session on Tuesday, March 29th at 5:30pm in council chambers to hear Carrigan’s request.

WPA Building

WPA Building

The complex of four buildings made of sandstone bricks had been used by Neoplan USA in the early 1980’s as housing for some of the company’s bus manufacturing employees. There had been some thought given to aligning the county and Lamar Community College to use the buildings as headquarters for a teaching site for students interested in historical preservation, but the plans never came to fruition and several months ago the property was deeded back to Prowers County from LCC.  It is thought that although the interiors may be gutted to create living and administration space for the Center, the sandstone exterior would not be greatly altered beyond its current structure.

The Planning and Zoning meeting is open to the public in the Lamar City Council chambers.

By Russ Baldwin

Editor’s Note:  A lack of a quorum on the Committee caused the issue to be taken up again on Tuesday, April 12th.

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