Lamar Council Notes Various Community/Economic Improvement Plans

Construction this Past Spring



The City of Lamar’s Water Distribution System Improvement Plan is nearing the end of Phase 3 which will complete the project designed to upgrade the water system running underneath South Main Street in the city. City Administrator, Steve Kil, informed the council during the July 13th meeting, that he and department heads will meet with Department of Local Affairs representatives to discuss the infrastructure project as well as a resurfacing of Main Street with a concrete topping, connecting to an earlier road project which was completed last year. The project is shovel ready and will be underway with DoLA approval. The funding request for the city is $900,000 which is a matching 50/50 grant.

Kil noted the LMR-9 bridge project is nearly 100% complete which replaces an aging, narrower bridge spanning the Lamar Canal with a newer and wider bridge connecting to Commercial Street. The city’s Main Street Scape Project has been completed with all benches, flower pots and trash receptacles in place. Mayor Crespin addressed a question as to why the west side of Main Street between Beech and Elm had no arrangements. “There were too many underground lines and cables which would hamper the construction of those items on the sidewalks, but that part of Main Street will be provided with the new benches.” He added that the project was free money for the city, “There weren’t any local tax dollars spent on this, but because it did add to city revenues with material purchases and local jobs, it was a benefit to Lamar,” he explained.

Eastern Ponds

The administrator had good news for residents with the approval of non-motorized water sports/vehicles for the two eastern-most ponds at North Gateway Park. Kayaks, canoes and paddle boats are now allowed, although swimming is still prohibited on the ponds. A kayak rental lease program is expected to be presented for the council’s next meeting on July 27th. Additional signage will also be installed along the roadways directing residents and tourists to the park.

A cost estimate for reconstructing the stage at the Enchanted Forest off East Beech Street in Lamar is being prepared. The Lamar Partnership Incorporated board has made that a priority for the year. Kil said the stage’s foundation is strong, but the flooring needs replacement and there are plans for a canopy. He said, “The LPI board is going to look at available funding for one larger project that we can accomplish instead of trying to work on a number of smaller projects, so we’ve decided to just pick one thing and get it done.” He said the city has a grant of $10,000 per year for the next five years and if a good, beneficial project costs a bit more, that can come from future funding. The council also discussed contacting railroad authorities to see if funding was available for improvements to the locomotive at the Welcome Center which has been in need of cosmetic repairs. The council and Kil briefly listed some concerns for future consideration including the rock walls lining the road in Willow Creek Park, more attractive signage for the city itself on roadways into Lamar and on that note, developing a plan to improve the conglomeration of cars, trucks and semis which are parked at the entryways into the city.

The 9-11 Memorial Committee presented the council with a sketch for sidewalk installation and concrete take-offs around the memorial located on Big Timbers Museum property. The committee said this would be a cooperative project involving the City of Lamar, Prowers County and the Memorial Committee. The Committee would finance all materials for the three day project using the crew from the city’s public works department.

Brian Estes was re-appointed to the Adjustment and Appeals Board for a five year term expiring in July, 2025. Jay Brooke was re-appointed to the Lamar Utilities Board for five years, expiring in August, 2025 and Roger Stagner, former Lamar Mayor was appointed to the Utilities Board to fill a vacancy which opened early this past year. The unexpired term is until August, 2022.

Daniel Neuhold was the lone bidder for the janitorial contract at the Lamar Welcome Center, a position he has held for the past nine years. His bid of $675 per month has not increased for the past three years. The Welcome Center, which had been closed for a portion of the spring due to the pandemic, has re-opened with limited staffing for a shorter work-week for the time being.

Lamar Fire Chief, Jeremy Burkhart requested using federal CARES ACT Funding to help pay for emergency medical services provided by the Lamar Ambulance Service. Cardiac monitors, power load systems and power lift cots for ambulances as well as radios would be purchased using the funds. Burkhart noted the new equipment will help assist ambulance volunteers should there not be enough available manpower to respond to some of the physical demands of the emergency. He estimated the total value of the equipment at $316,890. Mayor Crespin said the acceptance will also be a financial benefit to the city as this funding will eliminate the need for a future purchase by Lamar.

The Lamar council is moving forward on its submission of a Master Plan update for the Lamar Municipal Airport which is scheduled to be renamed the Southeast Colorado Regional Airport at some future point. In order to receive $349,174 in FAA Entitlement Funds for the update, the council approved the application. The federal CARES Act Grant provides the 10% match normally required, eliminating the need for the city to do so. The council also approved the application from the Lamar Police Department to receive $3,022 in POST grant funding for officer training into 2021.

A public hearing date of July 27th was set by the council for discussion of the city’s participation to administer Community Development Block Grants, (CDBG) for improvements to Plainview Apartments in Lamar. The Department of Local Affairs is recommending city involvement in the project which will allow new owners of the apartment complex to upgrade the 45 units while pricing them for families with low to moderate incomes. The use of CDBG funding would maintain them at that price structure for the next 30 years. As DoLA is prohibited from issuing funds directly to a for profit entity, the City of Lamar would become the third part entity, loaning the funding to the owners at a 1% return. The plan puts the city at minimum risk in the case of a default as funding is from HUD, not Lamar.

The council approved an agreement with Colorado Parks and Wildlife for water augmentation at North Gateway Park. This is an annual agreement in which the city maintains ownership of the park and the Division of Parks and Wildlife provides the use of CPW water for half of the augmentation requirement at the site and stocks the ponds each year for fishing. The agreement calls for the use of 53.165 acre foot of water to cover the evaporative loss of water from all three ponds.

A necessary name change is required for the southern section of town known as the Ridges. The council set August 10th for a public hearing on the request which will change Ridge Trail to Trail Ridge. This will aid with GIS mapping and help USPS with accurate mail deliveries. Apparently at some point the original name was reversed. When the Ridges was constructed all street names ended in Ridge. The council approved the resolution for the change and public hearing.

Former Main Cafe

A $15,000 grant application was approved by the council to finance the first step in rehabilitating the Main Café in Lamar through a Historic Structure Assessment. This will document the physical condition of a potential historic resource including site, building structural system, exterior walls roofing, windows and doors, interior finishes, mechanical systems and electric systems. A cost estimate will also be provided in the project for a working budget.

A scheduled public hearing request for a special event permit for the Sand and Sage Round-Up to host a beer garden during the annual county fair was withdrawn by the petitioner.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyFeaturedPublic SafetyRecreationTourismUtilitiesWater


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