Lamar Council Moves Ahead on Airport Purchase/Upgrades, Main Café Funding



Will recreational marijuana be able to be legally sold in Lamar?  A petition may be circulating to determine if there’s sufficient interest among registered voters to have the question placed on the City of Lamar’s November ballot.  SoCo, a cannabis retail company with interests in the state, is undertaking the task of circulating the petition, according to Lamar City Administrator, Steve Kil.  The number of signatures will help the company determine if there’s enough interest in retail sales to move forward to have the question assigned to the ballot.  The company will bear the cost of developing the ballot question.  This move does not involve the City of Lamar, and is a private enterprise with no ties to any city funding, a point stressed by Kil and Lamar Mayor, Kirk Crespin, during the council’s bi-monthly meeting on April 12th.

Third Pond at North Gateway Park

During the Administrator’s report, Kil provided an update on construction work on the kayak rental facility at North Gateway Park.  “We’ve been laying the groundwork for the building and work is underway to provide a beach area adjacent to the building.  We’re adding restroom facilities as well as a boat ramp which will be helpful in getting the paddleboards and kayaks into the pond.  The city is also supplying a beach volleyball area and the kayak center will offer bait and soft drinks as well,” he explained.

The Lamar City Council held a public hearing for a special event permit allowing the Lamar Chamber of Commerce to host a beer garden during the annual Lamar Days observance this May.  The beer would be sold between 6 and 10pm at the Lamar Chamber on Friday, May 14th.  The council unanimously approved the request.

A proclamation was approved declaring April 26, 2021 as Arbor Day and April 25 through May 1, 2021 as Arbor Week.  Ms. Kim Van Hook was re-appointed to the board for the three-year term expiring in March, 2024.  The proclamation was presented to the council by Lamar Tree Board president, Jane Felter.  She told the council trees will be planted this year at the Spreading Antlers Golf Course and near the Hope Center on North 10th Street.

Golf Course Tree Planting from 2018

Lane Porter was re-approved by the council to serve as municipal court judge for a two-year term.  A single bid was received from Cook’s Floor and Wall of $21,907.20 to re-carpet the Cultural Events Center and a portion of the Children’s Room at the Lamar Public Library.

The city approved an economic development incentive agreement with Scooter’s Coffee which recently held a ground-breaking ceremony on the site off North Main Street in Lamar.  The incentive package consists of a property tax and sales tax abatement consistent with figures from a similar sized coffee shop averaged over three years.  The Projected Base Period Average for the city’s sales tax for the next five years is $5,748 and the county’s property tax for the same period is $3,557.42.  The owner, Dale Willhite, estimates the new business will be in operation within the next 90 days.

Administrator Kil, presented a new lease agreement for approval between the city and Vertical Bridge Development, LLC for a communications tower which has been located near the city’s water storage reservoir tanks.  The new lease, at $15,000 a year, is an up-sell from the previous agreement which earned the city a dollar a year for a ten-year agreement.

The city continues to move forward with the eventual refurbishment of the former Main Café on Main Street.  Lamar received a DoLA grant for $61,005 to finance construction documents for the restaurant.  A firm will be hired to provide designs for a restaurant or other retail space on the ground floor of the building and housing on the second floor.  The council approved the request for proposal for the services to secure a design firm.  Kil estimated the total cost of refurbishment to be in the neighborhood of $600,000 for the ground floor restaurant and two upstairs apartments.  Plans call for the city to own the building for at least ten years and then be able to lease the management of the operation to a commercial venture.

Needed repair work on Taxiway A at the Southeast Colorado Regional Airport will be funded through several entitlement funds the city has received from the FAA.  Lamar has been banking the money until it’s become sizable enough to pay for this project which will upgrade the airport runway to current FAA standards.  Phase 1 will be funded through $60,000 from CDOT Aeronautics and the city will provide a dollar match on this portion of the project.  The council ratified an earlier phone poll vote.

The city is moving forward with taking over daily operations at the airport from Lamar Flight Service which will no longer serve as fixed base operator.  An asset purchase agreement for $100,159 was approved by the council to cover the equity in the jet fuel truck, the 100LL fuel truck and various shop equipment.  The city is also assuming the current hangar rental agreements and lease agreements from Lamar Flight Service.

Thomas Sanchez, City Information Technology Director, informed the council that the airport’s infrastructure, including internet service, needs upgrading as it lacks bandwidth capacity for day-to-day operations such as self-service fuel, time tracking, cash drawer and reporting.  The council approved a contract with SECOM to provide the needed services.

The council set a public hearing date of June 28, 2021 to discuss a resolution to provide for the use of the ‘Old Hire Firefighters’ pension fund’ where no current beneficiaries exist or may exist.  Administrator Kil provided a general idea outline to develop an ‘app’ to be used by the City of Lamar and Prowers County.  He described it as a multi-level communication source which would provide information regarding local businesses, update emergency situations for the community or publicize future local events.  Kil said the cost is $17,500 per year for five years and would be cost-shared by interested parties.  More details will be discussed at the council’s strategic planning session later this month.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: Chamber of CommerceCity of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyEnvironmentFeaturedHealthPoliticsPublic SafetyRecreationSportsTourismUtilities


About the Author: