New Search for New Administrator, Highway Work Continues





The City of Lamar will have to wait a longer period until a new city administrator is selected.  Mayor Kirk Crespin reiterated his remarks from an earlier facebook update that no candidate was chosen from the short list of two who visited Lamar recently.  During the Monday evening council meeting on August 9th, Mayor Kirk Crespin stated that the search will continue for a new administrator for the City of Lamar following an impasse with the council and the selected candidate.  In an earlier statement regarding the outcome, Crespin noted, “After some negotiation and deliberation, we could not agree on the terms of employment, and our offer was rescinded.  The Council and I agree that the City Administrator position is very important for our community and we agree that we cannot settle for anything less than the right candidate for our community.  Over the past three months, the Mayor Pro-Tem and I have shared the duties of the Interim City Administrator for the City of Lamar.  In working with our very experienced Department Heads, this temporary solution has been very successful and it has given us the opportunity to take our time to find the right candidate for our city.”

Continuing with the theme of patience, the mayor noted that construction work on highway 287 through the downtown section of Lamar will continue for some months to come.  “We’re looking at this project extending to the railroad crossing for about the next ten weeks,” he stated, asking for patience from the community as we go about our daily routines.  Crespin estimated the total roadwork would be completed by May of next year when the older asphalt portion of Main Street is replaced with concrete.  He said the construction firm using the vacated lot of the former Troy Manor will bring the site back to its original level and condition once the project is done.  “This helps speed their timeline and eliminates having their construction equipment along the roadway,” he explained.

Groceries Loaded on Truck at Lamar Chamber

Joel and Veronica Jacoby from Sparrowhouse Ministries on South 3rd Street in Lamar provided an overview of the public charity organization which has been serving the Lamar area since 2014.  The couple estimated they’ve purchased upwards of from $30,000 to $40,000 food items in the last year and Veronica Jacoby noted that there was actually a downturn in those served during the past year of the pandemic.  “We expect to see those numbers grow again as we move out of this situation,” she estimated, adding that as a public charity, Sparrowhouse exists on grants and donations.  “Our main clientele right now is seniors and a gap in a generation that isn’t completely served by food stamps or the supplemental government payments from Covid, but once those funds come to and end in the near future, we expect our numbers to climb again.”  Her husband, Joel estimated that at present, those numbers are at about 1,000 persons per month receiving food supplements.  The couple asked if the city could provide some space and manpower in removing all the cardboard food boxes their food is shipped in.  “We don’t have the capacity to move all of that each month to the recycle bins as our loads exceed the available space.”  Mayor Crespin said he’d confer with Public Works Director, Pat Mason to find a way to assist the organization.

Craig Brooks, City Building Inspector, provided an outline on the progress of the city’s Building Department and the GIS Office so far this year.  The department has been busy the past year based on statistics alone.  “We’ve issued 229 commercial and residential building permits so far this year which has generated $4,834,059.32 in estimated value,” he told the council and that various fees have generated $107,318.95 in the same time frame.  Brooks said he’s conducted 997 inspections and attended about 60 meetings to review building plans on various projects.

Brooks was given the go-ahead by the council to apply for the 2022 Brownfield Grant for $300,000 for Phase I and II assessments and clean-up programs.  He told the council, “No dollar match will be needed for this grant and we should have word of its approval by May of next year.”  Brooks added the funds will be applied on a similar basis for asbestos clean-up as they were for Opal’s and the Troy Manor, but the focus this time would be on improvements to the Main Café project, assisting development of the proposed meat packing plant and the former Norjune Apartments on West Elm Street.

The council approved a change order for the Timberline Landscaping bid for 8,300 tons of fill and topsoil to be used to develop the soccer fields at Escondido Park off North 14th Street in Lamar.  The original bid did not include the cost of topsoil.  Approximately 275 truckloads will be required for the site with the additional funding, $69,720, to be paid out from the city’s Conservation Trust Fund.  Timberline submitted the low bid for the project.

The council approved a memorandum of understanding which will allow the city to be a participating community for Prowers County for the Regional Resiliency and Recovery Roadmaps project.  The Department of Local Affairs will be the administrator and fiscal sponsor of the free, two-year program.  Stephanie Gonzales, SECED Executive Director, explained the program’s goal is to help communities recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic within a region.

The council approved a special events permit for the Lamar Elks Lodge #1319 for a beer garden on August 20-21 to run in conjunction with the Downtown Custom and Classic Car Show activities.  Trevor LaCost, organizer of the car show, told the council the number of local sponsors had doubled from 50 to 100 from the previous show.

Two new electric vehicle charge stations are being proposed for Lamar and the council approved a non-binding MOU to that effect with ChargePoint, Inc, a firm that installs the power stations around the country.  The parking lot behind the Pocket Park has been selected for the ten bay project as during the time needed for the charge to be completed, visitors would be within walking distance of the downtown area, affording a shopping opportunity for retailers in the vicinity.

Martha Baird-Alvarez, the city’s Marketing and Communications Director occasionally uses a drone in her work and the council approved Drone Liability Coverage for the equipment.

Several future community events were noted by Mayor Crespin including the Sand and Sage Round-Up Parade at 10am on August 14th, the Downtown Custom and Classic Expo August 20-21 and noontime groundbreaking ceremonies for the soccer fields at Escondido Park on Monday, August 23rd.  City Clerk, Linda Williams, announced that petitions are now available those who wish to run for the open seats on the city council in the November election.  Petitions must be returned by 4pm on Monday, August 23rd.

Laurie Dimitt and Heather Wisenand from High Plains Community Health Center, praised the turnout and the organization of the first Corporate Cup Competition held in Lamar.  Various teams from businesses and organizations participated in a number of events over two days, accumulating points for their victories and community improvement projects, as well as bragging rights until next year’s Cup comes around.  Both ladies offered a ‘shout out’ to Morgan Becker from LPI who organized the event as well as Martha and Kendra for their work coordinating the event.  The council was also addressed by members of the local RC model airplane and drone club which asked for city assistance in lengthening the two small runways which are used by the club.  The city currently provides some maintenance on the area through the spring and summer months.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCOVID-19EntertainmentEventsFeaturedHealthLamar Chamber of CommercePublic SafetyRecreationSportsThe ArtsTourismTransportationUtilitiesYouth


About the Author: