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Lamar Redevelopment Authority Weighs Main Street Business Request

Main Street Lamar, Co

 

 

The former Bettiann’s building, a long time fixture at 112 South Main Street in Lamar, is currently owned by Haley May Rhodes of Lamar who is requesting funding from the Lamar Redevelopment Authority to develop her own store. The request was made during the LRA’s September 24th meeting. The total cost of interior improvements is estimated at $50,000 and Rhodes is requesting $10,000 from the LRA to offset the code compliance and fixture repair costs.  An additional loan request for $50,000 has been submitted to SECED, Southeast Colorado Enterprise Development and a determination on that request is expected by September 26th.

The Authority took no action during the meeting as some concerns about the grant application and the timetable for developing a working retail outlet were discussed. Mayor Roger Stagner said that the Authority had already invested $19,000 for a replacement roof earlier this year as well as $1,000 for HVAC improvements.  Stagner said, “If we’re just financing the improvements with no real guarantee the business will be in operation at some future point, all we’ve done is finance the upgrades for a building that remains empty.”    Angie Cue, Lamar’s Community Development Director, explained that the contract for receipt of the grant calls for all the contractors to be scheduled for work improvements by the end of this year.  After that, the grant can be re-negotiated in a new application.  Councilwoman, Anne Marie Crampton, suggested that a two year call back on the grant be included in the agreement which would allow the Authority to recoup the funding if no progress had been made in establishing a functioning business.  Cue said Rhodes had anticipated being in operation by September, 2019.  She added Rhodes is evaluating her options to either open the store herself, develop and sell it or lease it to another operator.

The scope of the work includes lighting and new and additional electric outlets, remodeled bathroom, removal of flooring and carpet installation and paint, window coverings, ceiling tiles, signage and advertising, construction and equipment. With the exception of signage and advertising, the majority of the plan falls within the parameters of the Redevelopment Authority’s terms for an agreement.

Following the advertising for proposals from local banks for the lease/purchase of a new Ford Interceptor Utility Vehicle, the City of Lamar reviewed the application from two that were submitted and selected GN Bank of Lamar, based on the higher scores from the proposals. The cost of the lease is $30,314.87 over a two year period.

In a similar move, the City solicited proposals for the lease/purchase of a new Pierce Type 3 Fire Engine with two proposals returned and evaluated by the City Treasurer. Frontier Bank was selected based on scoring.  City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea, said the terms of the contract will be negotiated at a future date.

The council decided to go with a new, one year extension on the concession contract with the Lamar Savage Booster Club. Rick Akers, Parks and Rec Director, said the city would receive 8% of the net income from concession sales for 2018-2019.  The contract with the Club dates back to 1997.

Akers also explained the Intergovernmental Agreement between the city and Lamar Community College which allows use of sports fields and equipment for a one year term at a cost of $16,500. Beginning this year, the agreement will run for three years instead of the single year contract.  The city has a similar three year contract with the Lamar School District.

Local businessman and remote control airplane enthusiast, Rick Francis, detailed his club’s request for a city-built runway which would allow members to fly their model planes on a regular basis. Escondido Park along the greenbelt had been suggested as a location, using open land adjacent to the soccer fields for two runways, each of which would be approximately 250 feet long.  The pros and cons of the location were weighed by the council, as well as alternative sites and liability insurance coverage on the part of the flyers.  One drawback for the park would be engine noise from the planes as well as proximity to surrounding homes.  City Administrator, John Sutherland, suggested that the open areas near the city’s water wells, approximately 40 acres south of town, would be a better site. Akers said he would review the land with Francis, but at first glance, it is a better choice than the park.

The council approved some changes to the City Employee’s health and dental insurance program pool. As explained by Bert Davis, the city has been given a new Band rating, from two to one and will receive a 3.5% rate increase for County Health Pool rates.  There will be no increase to the dental or voluntary vision plans.  The city will continue to follow the council’s directive to apportion the premiums at a 75%-25% contribution with the continued option of two health plans and two dental plans.

The Lamar Fire and Emergency Services were awarded a grant to replace the 1995 McCoy Miller Ambulance, a cardiac monitor/defibrillator and a power load cot. The payments will come from the CDPHE FY2018/2019 EMTS Provider Grant and matching funds from the city’s 2018 budget. The ambulance and EMTS equipment is valued at $247,554.39 and the city’s share of the 50% match will be $123,277.19.

The council approved a letter of support to aid Lamar Community College in their application for a grant to support the Innovate and Make Space programs for K-12 students and senior citizens. The LCC program can assist entrepreneurial and economic development, skills training and project-based learning for southeast Colorado residents.

City Administrator, John Sutherland, outlined some future events of note in the community including: Carnival at the Library, Friday, September 28th at 10am at the Cultural Events Center, the council’s work session set for Monday, October 1st at 6:30pm and the council’s monthly informal breakfast at Brew Unto Others on October 3rd from 7 to 8am and the Stories of Cesar Chavez will be presented at Lamar Community College on Tuesday, October 9th at 7pm at the Large Lecture Hall.

By Russ Baldwin

 

 

 

 

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyEmploymentFeaturedPublic SafetyUtilities

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