Development Plans for Sage Brush Meadows Nursing Home Moving Forward

North View from Spreading Antlers Golf Course


Jay Brooke, representing the proposed Sage Brush Meadows Nursing Home, provided an update on the progress being made to the development of the facility, which will be located just south of Lamar along Highway 287 and north of Spreading Antlers Golf Course.

The plans call for a comprehensive long-term and innovative skilled care facility, he explained, capable of accommodating from 54 to 64 beds in private rooms and baths, incorporated into a maximum 60,000 square foot facility with an estimated cost of from $14 to $16M. Four acres of the ten acre site would go towards the facility and the remaining acreage would be set aside for future uses and expansion.

Brooke noted that because Medicaid will be the principle means of reimbursement, additional income will be needed, “the facility is not going to pay for itself.” Brooke explained his group has determined a one cent sales tax will be central to moving forward on the project and requested the city place the two part initiative question on the November ballot.  One part would be for the sales tax question and another to form a special health district which would be an entity apart from the city.  Brooke added the one cent tax would have a sunset date for expiration.

He cited statistics indicating that 35% of people over the age of 65 will enter a long-term care facility and Lamar’s demographics indicate an older percentage of its population, many of whom go outside the area for long-term care. He also noted that La Junta residents passed a similar ballot with an 80% approval margin last year.  Brooke told the council the one cent sales tax will be on all sales within the city limits, and not just on residents.  He noted that 63% of  local sales tax is actually paid by non-residents making purchases within the city.  Brooke and his group admitted they will need to undertake a comprehensive information campaign before the November elections.

He asked if the city would provide a letter of support for the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing once it has been reviewed by City Attorney Garth Neischburg. He and City Administrator, John Sutherland, will explore if the initiative can be placed on the November ballot as it’s a health issue and that type of question is allowed only in specific years.  If the letter is approved, it will be needed to accompany the application to the state by the end of May and the language for the ballot must be finalized by the end of July.

Brooke noted Sage Brush Meadows will offer long term care and physical rehabilitation as well as a separate facility for Alzheimer’s and memory care. He estimated the facility will require just under 100 employees and there should be sufficiently trained employees to accommodate those needs.  Other economic benefits would include the payroll, utilities and local purchases of materials on a sustained basis.  He noted that the facility would belong to the community which would elect a board of directors.

The council declared April 18th as Arbor Day and April 15th through the 21st as Arbor Week.  The proclamation was read by Tree Board President, Jane Felter and signed by Mayor Roger Stagner.  The Lamar Tree Board outlined planned activities in the community to recognize Arbor Week as well as highlighting the 27th year that the City of Lamar has been recognized with a 2017 Tree City USA Award.

Felter said, “The Board earmarked 63 trees which will be replaced in the community this year and next. We received a grant for $10,660 from Teaming Up for Trees and a match from the city brings that to $15,000 for replacements.”  She explained the Board will meet with the city and downtown merchants on what type of replacement tree would be best suited for that area, as well as other locations around the city.  That project, she said, will continue into 2019 as well as replacement saplings planted in the city’s Tree Farm.  Another tree replacement project will be held at the Spreading Antler’s Golf Course with local 5th grade students who assist with Arbor Day activities each year.  The Tree City USA award is sponsored in cooperation with the National Association of State Forester and the USDA Forest Service.  In a related matter, the council approved the re-appointment of two members to the Tree Board, Jim Faull and Kim VanHook to three year terms expiring in 2021.

May 14th was selected for a public hearing for the Prowers County Sand and Sage Round Up Fair Board Special Event Application for an annual beer garden during the Prowers County Fair on August 4 from 6pm to midnight and from 5pm to midnight on August 9th – 11th.  On a related note, the council took separate action on item 5a in their consent agenda for renewing the 3.2% beer retail license for Love’s Country Store on East Olive Street.  Mayor Stagner said the business had been cited recently for selling alcohol to a minor.  Approval of the license will be pending affirmation that all employees receive TIPS-training certification.

A lease agreement between the City of Lamar and SITA Inc. was approved by the council to install a VHF Radio and antenna at the Lamar Municipal Airport for a fee of $300 per month. SITA Inc provides technology allowing passengers to connect to the Internet on devices such as laptop computers and smartphones as well as make and receive phone calls and text messages.  City Public Works Director, Pat Mason, said the antenna would only be around four feet tall land the rest of the equipment is condensed enough to fit into the closet holding other airport broadcast equipment.

Council member, Anne-Marie Crampton informed the council Senate Bill 18-197 has passed through the state agriculture committee and been forward to the State Affairs Committee as it now bears more weight as a commerce issue. The bill will waive a regulation that requires agriculture producers to stop at a Port of Entry if they are within five miles of one, as is the case for Lamar and Prowers County, a requirement that negatively impacts local agricultural commerce and development.  Crampton asked if the council would submit a letter of support to the Committee on behalf of Prowers Economic Prosperity.

City Administrator, John Sutherland, noted National Library Week will run April 8-14 and the city is looking for volunteers to assist with the annual Spring City-Wide Clean Up Day, Saturday, April 28th from 7am to 4pm.

The council adjourned into executive session to discuss and develop strategy for negotiations and provide instructions for negotiations regarding ARPA and the joint budget with Prowers County.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureCity of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyElectionsFeaturedHealthHousingPublic SafetyUtilities


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