Community Development Highlighted at PEP Meetings



Prowers County communities are being given the opportunity to highlight economic developments for the next several months during Prowers Economic Prosperity board meetings.  While the PEP board continues to focus on essential care housing in the county, other areas of growth are being highlighted in a new series of programs, according to Dr. Linda Lujan, Lamar Community College President and Cheryl Sanchez, PEP Executive Director.  Town leaders from Wiley, Holly and Granada will also present updates from their communities on a monthly schedule.

Lamar Mayor, Kirk Crespin, provided a lengthy list of activities, covering areas such as the recent groundbreaking event for the 54-room Cobblestone Hotel on North Main Street, to a proposed CPW3-D archery range on the other side of the river and dog park at North Gateway Park which has seen extensive upgrades over the past summer. “There have been delays in the Best Western Inn and Suites project, but the city is still discussing moving that construction forward with the principals.”

“We still have our housing issues in Lamar and have been speaking with representatives from the North Plains Development group for a senior housing complex in town,” he stated.  He said the affordable senior housing units, once occupied, will help open the market for those vacated homes to be offered for sale.  Another plan calls for a group of 12 homes in the $350,000 range, to be built along Memorial Drive, along with 27 plots available for the senior housing project.

The city has been meeting with the architect responsible for submitting construction designs for the Main Café at 114 South Main and the plan to annex additional land into the Lamar boundaries is still being discussed, a project Crespin and former City Administrator, Steve Kil had been working on.  Crespin said the new Administrator, Robert Evans, will begin his new duties on Monday, November 1st.

A letter of intent with the Mini-Mart Corporation has been signed to expand their operation just next door to the former Troy Manor into the vacated lot, a step towards a firm contract for development; a portion of the WHO property, at the intersection of North Main and Anderson Street, was purchased by the city which has been in talks with a fast-food company and a development is hoped to move forward in the next several weeks.

Other projects include an interest in leasing or selling Sutrak property in the Industrial Park by the owner, but there is a difference in pricing expectations, but the door for more discussions remains open;  development of a 15-week winter sport program for local youth to experience on Friday afternoons which could be held at the Lamar Community Building, expansion of the city tree farm, adjacent to the HOPE Center on North 10th Street, electric vehicle charging stations will be constructed near the Lamar Chamber of Commerce and Welcome Center, progress continues on the city’s new water/wastewater treatment center and the Southeast Colorado Regional Airport is working towards an improved runway, self-service fueling and the facility will host almost 300 marines for training exercises for two weeks, set for the second week of November.  Crespin said he hopes this annual event could be hosted by Lamar in the future.

The mayor said he and LCC President, Linda Lujan, have had preliminary talks to use ARP and DoLa funding to create an incentive program, aimed at bringing home-based markets in the Lamar area, into a more viable retail sales operation.  We’d like to work on a long-term educational program for them instead of a short-term cash handout and that’s an idea we’ll bring before the city council to discuss.

Other interests were discussed by board members, with Prowers County Commissioner, Tom Grasmick, asking about the city’s plans for marijuana sales should the two ballot questions be approved in November.  Crespin and Anne-Marie Crampton replied that it will take about a year for the city to address the issue of zoning regulations and where the stores could be established and how many may be allowed to open.  “Right now,” they said, “anything of that nature will be set up out by the city’s Transfer Station and a series of public hearings will be held on zoning issues, as well as who will receive licenses to operation; large or small groups or big business, or how many stores will be allowed.  Grasmick asked if the city had given any thought to a potential impact on local health care systems as well as the population limits of the county jail.

Commissioner Ron Cook noted the expansion of the Consolidated Return Mail Center in Granada by 15 new employees as well as an additional 25 for the new mail overflow project.  “The county has been working towards additional broadband development, we’ve been speaking about power line placement with Xcel Power east of Lamar which may translate into new wind turbines,” he stated.  The county has also been developing funding for businesses to erect fencing along their property lines, the meat packing business in Wiley has opened and a new health clinic is expected to open there by the start of 2022.  Work continues on the Granada packing plant being developed by Curtis Tempel, the county recently purchased an automatic cart/gurney for the Holly Volunteer Ambulance Service and they have been working to hire individuals to provide grant writing services for economically oriented projects.

“On the downside,” Cook explained, “the County Courthouse has a pigeon problem again ever since the Lamar Repowering Project was dismantled this past summer.”  This was a problem which was addressed by a different set of commissioners years ago, but has come home to roost again, now that the birds are looking for a new home.

PEP Executive Director, Cheryl Sanchez said thirty people took part in a recent virtual job fair and she has had five interviews with those who had an interest in starting a home-based business.  She’s also assisting the Wiley community with a GoCO planning grant for recreational development.

By Russ Baldwin









Filed Under: Chamber of CommerceCity of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyFeatured


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