PEP Board Meets in Holly, Talks Focus on Hotel Development and Port of Entry Regulations

PEP Meeting in Holly


Prowers Economic Prosperity board members held their monthly meeting at the Catholic Hall in Holly this month, part of their community outreach program to bring their meetings to other communities in the county. Over 30 persons were on hand for economic and business updates from PEP Executive Director, Eric Depperschmidt and Rick Robbins, Board President.

Depperschmidt provided updates on various business developments which are still in play with the exception of one enterprise which was seeking to develop a business model for equipment which would provide therapeutic massage treatments for farm animals. “That is currently off the table at this time,” Depperschmidt explained.  He said the new Transportation Bill moving through congress doesn’t have funding at this time for the proposed Reliever Route for Lamar.  “We’re still pretty far down on the last as most funding is going for road construction to alleviate traffic congestion through the Front Range,” he stated.  The recent Ports to Plains meeting he attended in late October also highlighted the possibility of a nationwide gas tax increase in the neighborhood of $0.06 a gallon to help fund improved highway infrastructure across the country.  “It would raise around one trillion dollars and so far, the House is not sold on it, but the Senate is,” he explained.

The board is still working to develop a regional work fair, perhaps by April of next year. Depperschmidt said plans call to be able to accommodate from 25 to 30 vendors.  He added that the site would need to be able to hold that many participants, plus job seekers.  “Once we’ve selected the site, we’ll have more information for the general public,” he told the gathering.  Work is also underway for the annual meeting once a date and site has been selected.  “We want to be able to present our accomplishments to the public, how PEP  has helped job creation in the county, our efforts at recruiting and sustaining businesses and the assistance we can offer entrepreneurs on such matters as permitting and site locations.”

Rick Robbins said he’s been in talks with State Senator Larry Crowder, local Port of Entry and State Highway Officials and State Representative Kimmi Lewis, on a means of reducing inspection regulations and wait times for agriculture-oriented vehicles traveling through the county. Robbins, who manages Colorado Mills, said he’s been aware of how vehicle inspection regulations can take as much as 45 minutes or cause some vehicles to go through a port of entry extra times, depending on their routes and hauling status.  The group is looking at ways to streamline a permitting process.  He’s also been in contact, through PEP, with the Colorado State Patrol, which is seeking input on the best places to locate new ports of entry once the Reliever Route has been funded for construction.

Depperschmidt said he’s had requests on information for hotel development in Lamar. “We’ve had three quotes from companies for a feasibility study at this time.  If PEP decides to participate, it can give us ownership of the feasibility study and we can shop it around if one project doesn’t work we can go to other hotel owners and shop the study.  If the investor pays for the study we would not have ownership.  This is something that will be discussed in our executive session,” he said.  Depperschmidt said the feasibility breakdown would be on the hotel and current number of beds in the county and the other phase would focus on developable properties for retail.  On another local development, he said PEP has received a request to help with an EPA inspection.  The person has property they want to rehab and redevelop and they requested assistance.  Depperschmidt said this will also be discussed in executive session because of confidentiality, but once a decision has been made, it will be shared and made available to the public.”

The Treasurer’s report was presented by Lawrence Brase with Robbins noting that the organization should see at least a $60,000 commitment from board members and private entity partnerships for the approaching year.

The next PEP board meeting is set for December 5th at noon at the Granada Community Center.  Last month PEP held its board meeting in Wiley.

By Russ Baldwin



Filed Under: City of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEmploymentEventsFeaturedTourismTransportation


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