PEP Contributes $$$ to Second Year with Buxton Group

 Discusses Developing Town Hall Meetings for Community Input on Marijuana


Syracuse Dairy is considering expanding into Prowers County. Eric Depperschmidt, Prowers Economic Properity (PEP) Executive Director, told board members he has discussed the potential with the company.  Depperschmidt provided an update on various local business development positions and potential during the board’s bi-monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 5th at the Rodeway Cow Palace Inn.

He gave updates on some past projects including a retail business that is upgrading a downtown Lamar business and has been in talks with another, newer retail business venture which is also slated for the downtown area, sometime in November, but specific details were not available. Work continues on the expansion of the Pelsue building south of Lamar on Highway 287; Sage Brush Meadows is now seeking private funders for a feasibility study needed for their project, an 80 bed nursing home facility on the west side of Highway 287 and north of Spreading Antlers Golf Course.  The group’s initial proposal for funding did not meet the criteria set by DoLA for a grant for the study.

The PEP board voted to approve $10,000 in funding for a second year for Buxton Group, part of a $50,000 annual payment to secure the marketing services of the Texas based company. The balance is made up from contributions from the City of Lamar and Prowers County.  The board also voted to ratify the upcoming Room Tax Vote which will appear on the local November ballot.

Rick Robbins, PEP President, noted that the Pilot Truck Stop, now under construction along North Main Street, is hiring.   When asked if Arby’s would be one of the restaurants included in the truck stop operation, Robbins said the company would use an internal chain, PJ Fresh and Dunkin Donuts would also supply food items.  Angie Cue, Lamar’s Community Development Director, added that although the Arby’s chain has shown some interest in Lamar, talks with that franchise are back to zero, based on negotiations for a site in town.

Depperschmidt said he’s researching a future job fair for the community, perhaps around the turn of the year. One big priority among business owners and managers is finding qualified employees.  He noted he has been in talks with his counterparts along the eastern plains, to consider holding regional meetings and develop a coalition of economic developers which could address concerns as a unified group.  Robbins and Depperschmidt discussed holding outreach meetings throughout the county, holding them on a quarterly-annual basis in Wiley, Granada and Holly on the second board meeting of the month.  Board member Lawrence Brase suggested that those town governments offer some form of buy-in by way of attendance, noting PCDI attempted a similar program years ago with only the PCDI board members showing up.  PEP has recently held limited business hours in Holly for any interested resident or visitor.  He said he and Aaron Leiker may use some of that time to pay personal visits to the businesses in the community and sound them out on their ideas and let them know what PEP has to offer.

The board held a brief follow-up discussion on how legalized marijuana sales would impact the community if they were allowed. Dr. Linda Lujan, Lamar Community College President, had said earlier that a series of town hall meetings would offer some insight and expert spokespersons could be invited to talk about either sides of the issue, pro and con.  She and Brase asked that it be noted that PEP is not promoting or advocating for marijuana use in the community, but would only serve as a conduit for information and community discussion.  President Rick Robbins said some meetings could address economic impact, the medicinal values of medical marijuana and information looking at the impacts these changes have brought about in other communities.  He suggested a committee be formed of volunteer board members to develop a format for presentation to the community, as well as to line up informed guests who could provide answers and suggestions based on how other communities fared under the legalization in Colorado.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: AgricultureCity of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEducationEmploymentFeaturedHealthTourism


About the Author: