Council Begins Progress on Main Café Rehab-Sidewalks and Stage

Municipal Offices in Lamar

 

The City of Lamar’s Redevelopment Authority approved the Department of Local Affairs REDI Grant application for $122,010 to begin rehabilitating the Main Street Café in Lamar. The city will hire an architectural consultant for the comprehensive plan which includes engineers for the building’s structure as well as plumbing and electrical needs. The city will use funds from the 2020 LRA budget to provide the $61,005 50/50 match required by the grant. The Main Café closed its doors as a restaurant in the mid-1990s and has been vacant ever since. The project’s start and end date note the project must be completed no later than June 30, 2022. The city council approved the application during its portion of the July 27th meeting.

The council, following a pubic hearing, decided to postpone action until a future meeting to act as a third party financial conduit to disburse Community Development Block Grant funds for interior and exterior improvements to Plainsview Apartments along South 11th Street in Lamar. The Department of Local Affairs suggested Lamar act as financial liaison between itself and apartment owner, Tom Simpson, as the funding cannot be given directly to the owner of a for-profit entity. The city would loan Simpson improvement funds received from DoLA at a 1% return with no other obligation or future impact of city funding. A balloon payment would be due after 17 years.

A vote was taken to ratify the council’s earlier approval for the CDOT Main Street Revitalization Grant application for downtown sidewalk improvements. The city will provide $22,450 as an in-kind match for the $50,000 grant. The match will be the sidewalk demolition and removal at Olive Street between 4th and 5th Street, Elm Street between 5th and Main Street, Poplar Street between 4th and Main Street, Beech Street between 5th and Main Street and Main Street between Parmenter and Oak Street.

Lamar Partnership Incorporated will use funds from a mini-grant from the Colorado Main Street Community to make improvements to the entertainment stage at the Enchanted Forest on East Beech Street in Lamar as well as to develop a mural on the alley side of Daylight Donuts. The 2020 mini-grant has a $5,200 balance and $62,500 in the funding until 2025. The city provides a $12,500 match and the Department of Local Affairs contributed $50,000 over five years. Administrator, Steve Kil, explained the repairs would include a new composite flooring, stairs and a canopy as well as room for display banners. City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea, added that LPI can use up to $30,000 of the funding in one year, but would be prohibited from re-applying for another grant until three years had passed.

If you’d like to spend a pleasant afternoon, paddling on top of the two eastern most ponds at North Gateway Park, the opportunity is now open as the City of Lamar signed a lease-agreement with locally-owned Aqua-holics Rentals, LLC. The company will rent non-motorized watercraft such as paddleboards, paddle-boats or kayaks to the general public and the city will receive lease rent at 10% of the net profit from the rentals. Kil said the city may, in the future, construct a storage building for the boats, and if that were the case, the rental fee to Aqua-holics could be increased to cover the cost of the project. Over the past several years, the city has used grant funding to make improvements at what was formerly known as Valco Ponds. This has included a floating dock, permanent shade shelters, public restrooms and a barbecue at the first pond. Another public restroom has been constructed at the eastern ponds and the city is making plans to post wayfaring and directional signs informing the public of the pond’s location.

The city is working to improve the sewage treatment issue at the Ports to Plains Travel Plaza. Owner, Jim Miller is seeking a solution and has hired JVA Engineering to secure permits for the installation of a Bioxide Treatment System similar to the three the city has in place to reduce the hydrogen sulfide levels in the sewage. This should eliminate the noxious odors as well as the corrosion problems that have developed from the sewage. The agreement will allow the city to install the system and Miller will purchase the chemicals used in the treatment. Similar treatment facilities have been built along south Memorial Drive and one has been planned for installation along Prosperity Lane which has had a history of sewage flow problems.

Gerry Jenkins and Whitney Lee were appointed to the Victims and Witnesses Assistance Law Enforcement (VALE) Board. Jenkins was re-appointed and this will be Lee’s first term, replacing Lauren Grasmick.

A contract between the City of Lamar and Gordon and Janice Guihen as independent contractors was approved by the council. The agreement is for services to include watering flowers on Main Street and other locations. The $6,000 contract runs between June 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020.

The council noted the proclamation from Governor Polis declaring July as Parks and Recreation month and July 28th as Parks and Recreation Professionals Day.

By Russ Baldwin

 

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