Lamar Council Details Progress for Funding to Develop Local Economy



The City of Lamar and other Prowers County communities will receive financial funding through the federally originated Cares Act, designed to aid communities impacted by COVID-19. Funding is allowed by way of population with Prowers County set to receive $1,044,201 which will be divided among the six local governmental entities. Lamar’s population, at 63% of the county, entitles the city to receive $592,062. Prowers County will receive $216,150 based on 23% population in an unincorporated area. Wiley will receive $28,193; Granada will receive $37,591; Hartman will receive $9,398 and Holly will receive $56,387. The Lamar Council approved the memorandum of understanding and cooperative agreement during its June 22nd meeting for its share of the Cares Act Funds. City Administrator, Steve Kil, said the city will return the agreement for action well before the July 7th deadline. While the money will help pay for COVID-19 related expenses, Kil and Lamar Mayor Kirk Crespin asked the council and local citizens to give thought to how any remaining funding may aid businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic, but may not have qualified to receive any aid. Two suggestions received following the meeting included funding to offset any losses at the Spreading Antlers Golf Course or funding for the Sparrow House Ministries.

The council also approved an application for funding from the Department of Local Affairs, DOLA, for a $10,000 Colorado Main Street Mini-Grant. Community Development Director, Angie Cue, explained that Lamar qualifies for the funding as a Designated Colorado Main Street Community. The city must provide an annual cash match of $2,500. The funding may be used for downtown area enhancements as well as costs for planning, designs, training or future studies.

Steps have been taken to have The Main Café in Lamar designated as a historical property by the council. A resolution was passed to that effect to accept the application which was initiated under the direction of the City of Lamar Historic Preservation Advisory Board. This will allow the building at 114 South Main Street in Lamar to be categorized as an historic building for the purpose of preservation, renovation, rehabilitation, reuse and nomination to the Colorado and National Registers of Historic Places. The building, which was built in the 1890s has been repurposed numerous times, as a dry-goods store or clothing store in 1900, a printing shop in 1906, a telegraph office and stationery shop in 1919, an attorney’s office was added in 1925 and the Main Café operated from 1939 to 1990. The city plans to abate the asbestos and other environmental contaminants on both floors, historically rehabilitate the exterior front, roof and back entry, finish out the first floor to be used as a restaurant and construct two apartments on the second floor. Administrator Kil said the Main Café was one of the two top Main Street developments the city wants to improve. The other is developing the Troy Motel into a potential retail site once the South Main Street building has been demolished.

The Buzzard’s Roost had their request for a Temporary Modification of Premise approved by the council under a pandemic bulletin 20-07 released by the Governor’s office which allows for outdoor seating and serving alcohol to allow for social distancing. The Buzzard’s Roost restaurant holds a Tavern Liquor License that encompasses its entire building. The modification opens a 12 by 82 foot area on the south side of the building which will be surrounded by a six foot tall chain link fence.

Clifford Boxley was re-appointed to the Lamar Housing Authority Board for a five year term, expiring June 1, 2025. Burt Heckman was re-appointed to the Lamar Airport Advisory Board for a five year term, expiring February 1, 2025.

The council awarded the annual concession contract bid at the ball field complex to Snowball Express which offered 20% of gross sales after taxes. Snowball Express ran the concession stand between 2016 and 2018.

City Administrator, Steve Kil, noted that city offices will be closed Friday, July 3rd for the approaching holiday, which, at this time, will still feature the annual fireworks display at dusk from the Prowers County Fairgrounds.

The city is moving forward with plans to allow non-motorized boats on the North Gateway Pond and once signage has been approved and last-minute details have been finalized, another outdoor outlet will be available to regional residents. Paddle boats, kayaks and canoes will be allowed on the pond.

Mayor Crespin replied to a resident’s question regarding the sale of marijuana in the community. “Several years ago, residents voted down the ballot on recreational sales, but if a person or group can finance the cost of putting the question before the voters sometime in the future, then the public will decide what happens,” he explained. Several communities in southeast Colorado including Las Animas, La Junta and Rocky Ford have opened dispensaries in the past year and it was noted at the meeting that one has been suggested for Wiley.

By Russ Baldwin


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