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PEP Begins 2020 Focus

 

 

The first Prowers Economic Development (PEP) meeting of 2020 was conducted in the economic development organization’s new headquarters at 223 South Main Street in Lamar.

Tara Hosick, Interim Executive Director, welcomed the board and delegates as well as Clifford Boxley, the 2020 Lamar Chamber of Commerce President, who represented the organization with his attendance at the January 20th meeting. Boxley said this year will be one of re-grouping, “We have four chamber directors at this time and we’re looking to rebuild.” Boxley has been meeting with Mayor Kirk Crespin, Angie Cue from Lamar Partnership Incorporated and others to determine ways in which future partnerships can help augment the chamber and assist its role for businesses in the community.

Hosick initiated a brief discussion among the PEP board of directors on the frequency and schedules of meetings and the presentation of minutes and the financial report at each gathering. The current by-laws will be reviewed on that action. Hosick said an effort will be made to promote more out-of-town mixers in the various communities in Prowers County as well as developing office hours in each town for one-on-one representation. A separate committee will begin work on the PEP annual meeting, set for Thursday, March 26th, from 5:30 to 8pm. The location and guest speakers are still being determined.

She said PEP is hosting a reception on Monday, January 27th from 5pm to 7pm which will highlight the focus of the Homegrown Talent Initiative project to the general public and potential supporters. “Lamar is best suited out of the eight member communities, because we offer a strong community college involvement,” she explained. Briefly, HTI wants to develop business-oriented mentors who will help coach middle school students into finding a career path that will enable them to graduate from high school, equipped with skills that will serve them in their academic or local career choices.

Some infrastructure is needed for the new PEP location and Hosick said a committee will be formed to help equip the office with donated office furniture or in-kind donations from businesses who can assist them. Some of the work includes new paint and lighting fixtures as well as basic items such as desks, chairs and some cabinetry.

Monthly meeting schedules for the Task Force were set which will see Business Retention and Expansion the 3rd Friday of each month; Attraction on the 1st Monday of the month; Workforce Development every Friday, Entrepreneurship/Small Business Development the 2nd Monday of each month and Quality of Life/Housing and Community Outreach have yet to be determined. Each of these groups will provide updates on progress at the board of director’s meetings.

Cheryl Sanchez, project coordinator for PEP and representative of the Small Business Development Center, reported that a series of educational seminars will begin on February 10th with different presenters and topics for local business development. “Come and go morning meetings will continue to be held the second Thursday of the month at Brew Unto Others from 7am to 9am. We’ll be discussing goal setting for businesses as one of our early topics,” she explained.

Granada may become home to two new businesses, according to Commissioners Ron Cook and Tom Grasmick. They reported the county is bidding to have Granada as a site for consolidated return mail sent from the state Department of Human Services, “1.8 million letters are returned as non-delivered each year and Granada could become the site where those are processed for future action,”Cook explained. Grasmick said the community may become the site of a small slaughter operation which could also open up employment for another 20 persons and the county hopes to have some idea of its standing by next month.

Angie Cue attended a meeting which provided an overview of the state Department of Local Affairs where the agencies’ housing development program was explained. DoLA is looking at ways in which the program could work to benefit the community, especially working with the vacant properties the City of Lamar now owns, brought about by the condemnation of abandoned homes which the city has demolished over the past several years. She recapped how CDOT’s TAP grant, if approved, could help upgrade sidewalk, curbs and a potential bridge over Ft. Bent Canal in Lamar. That would run tandem to the proposed highway upgrade for the southern section of Main Street, continuing the work done on North and South Main Street in Lamar last year. Cue said CDOT is also looking at plans to provide transportation connecting some southeast Colorado counties by a bus route.

Hosick noted that she will soon close her current professional relationship with her past employer and will begin to work fulltime as the Prowers Economic Prosperity executive director by mid-March.

By Russ Baldwin

 

 

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

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