Motels are in the Works

Parking Lot Looking East to Cow Palace


As the Cow Palace Inn on the west side of North Main Street is currently being refurbished, plans are underway to build a new motel across from it on the east side of North Main, a Best Western Inn and Suites. And there could be another distant future motel project with the city council’s motion to approve a continuation of an incentive agreement with BriMark Builders for the construction of a Cobblestone Hotel in the general area between the Lamar Inn and Cow Palace Inn. The council’s vote on the incentive was held during it’s bi-monthly meeting on September 28th.

Parking Lot Looking East with Lamar Inn on Right Side

Seeking to add to the economic base of Lamar and attract new business ventures, the city approved an incentive package in November, 2019 for the project. Mayor Kirk Crespin recapped that the new offer was good for one year, but after a brief discussion by the council, the incentive was amended for a six month period. Recently, Tim Schefchik, VP of Development with BriMark Builders had approached the city with the concept as far back as 2017 and requested an extension, indicating that the project would be able to move forward with the approval of the incentive agreement. The package is estimated at $249,260 and includes assistance with some site development elements including street construction, water and sewer lines, electrical line, pad mount and transformer and building permit. Other incentives include rebates on property and city sales taxes as well as some utility cost rebates. Those offers have duration spans of from five to 11 years.

Shefchik first met with the city during a 2017 telephoned work session to test the waters for the Cobblestone project. At that time, he explained that the chain works with local financing partners and host towns that can provide their buy-in from different tax and rebate incentives. City Administrator, Steve Kil, said Shefchik has new financial backing that is more amendable to some of the factors in the agreement, although there would be a complete review of the particulars before any contract is ratified by the council. The city would receive a return through TIF, Tax Incremental Funding levied on building and property improvements within Lamar’s Urban Renewal District. In 2017, the estimated cost of the proposed project was near $6 million. There are two other Cobblestone Hotels in the area…Eads with 33 beds and Lakin, Kansas with 45 beds.

An initial plan review of the Best Western Inn and Suites project will be held with a staff meeting on Friday, October 2nd with the architect who has begun the site design and building architecture. The acreage for the project was the site of the former Opal’s nightclub on North Main Street, just prior to the Arkansas River Bridge. The last building on the site is expected to be demolished on Wednesday, September 30.

Administrator Kil briefed the council on the schedules for the Troy Motel demolition which includes bid opening for the project on Wednesday, October 7th. Nine site meetings have been conducted with interested contractors. A potential award will be announced during the council’s meeting on Monday, October 12th. The Lamar Community Building roof repair project will have bids opened on October 14th and the award should be announced on October 26th.

Lamar City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea, provided the council with an update on funds the city has received from the CARES Act, the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Eligible transfers of funds or expenses that have been incurred due to the public health emergency are: $223,189 for Medical purposes, $127,391 for Public Health and Safety, $15,608 for Telework, $1,951 for Distance Learning, $5,493 for PPE and $49,056 for Other expenses. Total CVRF funds being requested by the city amounts to $422,690. To date, the City of Lamar has applied for a total of $6,560,516 in various active grants which includes the current Water/Wastewater projects, various Main Street projects, the North Gateway Park, the Airport Master Plan, Brownfield Clean-up projects, and a variety of outdoor/exercise projects from the Inspire grant.

A chemical system designed to treat sanitary sewage will be installed to help alleviate noxious and corrosive gases impacting the wastewater equipment along Prosperity Lane in Lamar. A bioxide chemical feed and storage system was approved by the council. The Prosperity Lane Association will be responsible for purchasing the chemicals needed for the operation while the city maintains ownership of the feed and storage equipment. The gases from the sewage are eroding and damaging the city’s collection system. Administrator Kil said the Ports to Plains system is now operating and a test of the waters before showed a content of corrosive materials at 800 parts per million and a subsequent test showed the content had been reduced to almost zero.

The council approved the contract for $322,011 with Velocity Constructor’s Inc for the city’s water headworks project. The work entails the rehabilitation of existing concrete structures, installation of new protective coating and installation of new headworks fine screen basket in the WWTF headworks/influent lift station. The bid was awarded on September 14th and the majority of the work is expected to be completed within 90 days.

The city’s Wellness Committee, working with 9Health Fair, is offering city employees a private health screen kit that will substitute for a public health fair screening, no longer available due to the pandemic. The kit will be provided for those city employees who order one using a discount code. The cost of the kit will be covered under the Colorado Health Plan at no cost to member city employees.

A mural depicting a country-western scene will be painted on the rear walls of Daylight Donuts in Lamar using funds supplied by Lamar Partnership Incorporated. The cost will be paid both by LPI and the City of Lamar. Local artist, Jeremy Cooper, will be paid $2,000 for materials and labor for the project which is expected to be finished by December 1, 2020.

The council went into executive session for legal discussions and negotiations involving the Lamar Airport on two matters as well as a general personnel matter. No action was taken following the executive session.
By Russ Baldwin



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