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Lamar Council Takes Steps to Fund Economic and Infrastructure Projects

 

Annexation Property Looking West

 

The Lamar Planning and Zoning Commission approved the annexation of properties at 1408, 1412, 1412.5 and 1416 North Main Street in Lamar. This is an area of land formally known as Opel’s Pub as well as several adjacent buildings which have fallen into disrepair over the years. A public hearing was held by the Lamar City Council on January 13th, 2019 for comment on annexing the 5.03 acres into the City of Lamar. A smaller percentage of land, 0.79 acres is currently owned by Peter Patel, and is already within the city limits. The petition for annexation was received from Patel as co-personal representative of the Mahakali Investments LLC. Following the hearing, the council approved the first reading of the annexation ordinance which recommended the property be zoned as a C-3 Highway Services District.

The council adopted Proclamation 20-01, declaring than January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month to Eliminate Violence Against Men, Women and Children in the Month of January Due to Human Trafficking. The proclamation lends support to organizations such as Domestic Safety Resource Center, to raise awareness, stimulate discussions and advocate for local solutions that will curb Human Trafficking.

A motion to ratify an earlier phone poll by the council was approved. This referred to a fire truck lease agreement which was signed in 2018 for ten years in payments of $372,847 per year. Change orders upped the price to $397,245.24 which was $24,398.24 above the original price. The city, after negotiations, agreed to split the difference with the provider. The payments from the city will be increased by $882.38 for the next eight years and the first two payments made in 2018 and 2019 have been applied to the principal.

City of Lamar employees will be able to expand their voluntary coverage health insurance with Aflac now that the city signed an Aflac Master Application. A reduced group rate will be offered to those who desire coverage for accident, hospital and cancer group policies. 52 city employees have signed up for the insurance benefit through their own payment plans. On another health note, Mayor Pro-Tem Crampton signed a memorandum agreement between the city and Southeast Wellness Works for an employee assistance program for those workers who are having personal or substance problems. This is a continuation of a program that has been in place for several years and has received considerable usage by city employees.

A purchase agreement for the Main Café at 114 South Main Street in downtown Lamar was approved by the council. Angie Cue, Community Development Director, recapped the history of the business for the council. The Lamar Redevelopment Authority authorized the city to apply for a DoLA REDI grant for the purchase in March, 2019 for $13,500 with an Urban Redevelopment Authority match of $4,500. The grant was awarded last June and the purchase order was received just prior to the New Year. The building has been vacant for several years, following a private purchase and attempt to refurbish the facility on the first and second floors which proved too costly at the time.

Other property programs were on the agenda with the council’s authorization letter to apply for a 1306 Brownsfields Cleanup Grant to safely remove any hazardous materials or ACM, Asbestos Containing Materials, at the former Troy Manor Motel at 1101 South Main Street in Lamar. Future plans call for the building will be demolished after the removal of hazardous materials from the site, backfill and level and site to grade and repair the sidewalk and any curb and gutter damage that might result from the cleanup. The city believes bringing the property into a clean-slate status would make it considerably more appealing for a future sale for business development in that part of town while removing a long-standing eye-sore from the main road.

Work on a short and aging bridge spanning the Lamar Canal can begin now that a bid has been accepted for the project. The LMR-9 Bridge connects Avenida Colonia and Commercial Street and has been deemed unsafe for large vehicles including fire trucks. The bridge is 24 feet wide and the proposed bridge will double that width. The replacement will help alleviate some traffic that currently is exiting Avenida Colonia onto Main Street. The project was budgeted at $500,000 and bids were issued on three occasions. The approved bid of $462,704.79 was submitted by Tricon 2, LLC.

The cycle for cleaning Lamar’s two main water tanks is due, a process required by the State of Colorado that all tanks be inspected and cleaned every six years. The City of Lamar has two tanks which alternate years of internal and external inspection which is performed every three years. The last inspection was in 2017 and the low bidder, Midco of Colorado was awarded the bid. Public Words Director, Pat Mason, explained that the 2 million gallon tank will have an external inspection while the 6 million gallon tank will have an internal inspection and cleaning of any sediment.

Palace Holdings, LLC has developed plans for renovating and upgrading the Cow Palace Inn along North Main Street in Lamar. The municipal incentive offer is $145,475 for a proposed Clarion Inn and Suites Hotel. The city will roto-mill grade and prepare 125,733 square feet of existing asphalt parking lot surface and once the surface is prepared, the city will install a new 3-inch hot mix asphalt surface to the area. The city won’t begin work until renovation and construction of the new Clarion property is near completion. The offer from the city is good for one calendar year from January 13, 2020. The council tabled the incentive until there is more clarification in the agreement regarding the scope of the work.

More renovation work is being planned with the city’s application for a CDOT Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) for $400,000 with a city match of $100,000 for Main Street ADA Compliance and Streetscape project. This would allow CDOT’s Phase II project from Park Street to Savage Avenue to begin which includes a pedestrian bridge over the Fort Bent Canal and ADA compliant sidewalks. Additional funding will be needed to begin work on the roadway itself, and according to Angie Cue, that may be a couple of years in the future. CDOT eventually plans to construct a concrete highway, south to Spreading Antlers Golf Course and close the exit from the Welcome Center onto South Main Street by the railroad tracks.

The council passed an ordinance amending a portion of the Victims and Witnesses Assistance and Law Enforcement (VALE) board. The amendment increases the reimbursement amount for victims of crimes in order to keep pace with the action of cost of repairs for the property of victims, assist with the cost of insurance deductibles or provide needed assistance for medical expenses. The maximum allowable amount will increase from $250 to $750. Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, said an average of ten citizens make requests each monthly meeting.

By Russ Baldwin

 

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEnvironmentFeaturedHealthHousingPolice ReportPublic SafetyRecreation

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