2022 Year in Review – October


Here’s a review of some of the Highlights of 2022 in Prowers County


1819 Improvements are on the Right Track

The upgrade, clean-up and paint job for the steam locomotive and coal car, the #1819 “Prairie Engine” that serves as a representation of the routes of travel across the High Plains, is almost complete.  For the past several weeks, employees from Royalty Construction, which is a locally owned and operated construction enterprise, have been at work with a restoration project initiated by the City of Lamar.

The train needed it.  No one disputes that at all. The Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel had considered allocating their funds towards a revamp project years ago, but the by-laws of the county-promotion organization prevented it from spending money on material items, only on advertising and marketing-based promotions.

According to the website for the Great High Prairie, the train has had several berths in Lamar:

“The 1819 “Prairie” Engine was donated to the City of Lamar in 1956. In February, 1956, it was pulled down 4th Street using portable track sections to a location next to the Carnegie Library (Now the Lamar City Complex).

When Lamar was chosen as a location for a Colorado Welcome Center and the original train depot was refurbished, it was only fitting that Engine 1819 should live by the depot. Once again, it was pulled down 4th Street on portable track sections in February 1991.”

By Russ Baldwin




Bennet, Hickenlooper Visit Sand Creek with Interior Secretary Haaland, Welcome Expansion of National Historic Site

Denver — Today, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper joined Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, National Park Service (NPS) Director Chuck Sams III, and leaders from the Northern Arapaho Tribe, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes at the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site to remember the 1864 massacre and announce the addition of almost 3,500 acres to the Site. This addition is made possible with financial support from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

The Sand Creek Massacre occurred on November 29, 1864, when U.S. soldiers attacked an encampment of approximately 750 Native people. The soldiers killed 230 people — mostly women and children. The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site was established in 2007 to preserve and protect the cultural landscape of the massacre and enhance public understanding of this horrific event.


Thunder Stadium and Press Box

Historical Study to Offer Suggestions for Stadium Renovations

The Lamar Re-2 School District board voted to rescind a decision made this past June, to completely replace the Lamar High School football stadium, given the two options the board faced at that time.  A board meeting was held on October 5th, attended by citizens who were concerned a replacement stadium would remove the historical significance of the facility which has served the community since the early 1940s, built as part of a WPA-financed project.

The board considered a third option which had been suggested which would have eliminated the four top rows, lowering the broadcast booth and removing a top portion of the southern wall from the main frame.  The third entry was the most expensive, estimated at $3.1 million which included the $500,000 renovation to the track surrounding the football field.  The board indicated a reluctance to reduce its capital funding to such a degree in light of future purchases for other school needs.  Among them, a generator for their community kitchen which has twice lost power in just over a year.  An initial estimate for a replacement is $119,000.  An updated fire alarm system for the middle school is estimated at $46,000, remote control for the HVAC system is about $16,000, security door sensors for the district is $26,000 as well as dealing with the growing unpaid balance on school lunches, an issue that began in February of 2020. Other considerations are the replacement of an analogue phone system in the district’s main office and an upgraded intercom system.

Superintendent, Dr. Chad Krug, said the board decided to engage with Colorado History during its October 10th meeting and secure a non-competitive planning grant which would come from the State Historical Fund.  Krug explained, “The board is moving forward with the project, to determine the best path to follow based on its past work and in light of the concerns of some community members regarding the historical significance of the stadium.”  He added the board will consult with specialists which will compare their findings to the first two options as well as the latest entry.  Krug added that this situation is not a ‘right versus wrong’ scenario regardless of the board’s ultimate decision which hopes to attain a significant balance of all the issues.
By Russ Baldwin




Lamar Redevelopment Authority Approves 2023 Budget, Additional Environmental Study at Arby’s Site

The Lamar Redevelopment reviewed a proposal for additional site characterization for 1002 North Main Street, the proposed site for the Arby’s franchise restaurant.  Potential chemical contamination at the site will be explored by Professional Service Industries, a firm hired this past August to conduct a study which found some evidence of petroleum and other chemicals in soil samples.  Most were under regulatory standards in most cases as well as groundwater samples taken from the site.  The total estimation of the study will be approximately 24 to 37 business days with an estimated cost of $28,365, although some additional expenses may be incurred the handling, sampling, storage, transportation or disposal of investigation wastes.
By Russ Baldwin



Pike History Kiosk Unveiled

Lamar Rotarians started planning for a historical kiosk for Pike’s Tower in Willow Creek Park during it’s centennial in 2021.  That completed project was celebrated this past Thursday, October 20th with dedication ceremonies at the site.  Members from Lamar Rotary, City of Lamar officials, the Alta Vista Charter School’s fourth graders and historically minded citizens attended the ceremony.

The kiosk helps explain the history of the tower, erected as one of two significant WPA projects in the state during the Great Depression.  It’s generally believed that explorer, Zebulon Pike and his expedition passed through Lamar on November 13, 1806 while exploring the course of the Arkansas River.  It was from this area that Pike and his team first viewed what was to become known as Pike’s Peak overlooking Colorado Springs.  That expedition covered almost 4,000 miles.

The Lamar Rotary wanted to highlight the historical significance of Pike’s discoveries beyond the plaques that are situated on the tower itself.  Zebulon Pike, despite living to only 34, died at the Battle of York in Canada in 1813.  He was chosen to lead expeditions into what was known as the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 which almost doubled the U.S. territory.  His first led to the Mississippi River headwaters in 1805-1806 and the second was through the southeast territories from 1806-1807.  The kiosk was made possible through the efforts of Lamar Rotary, working with the Lamar Parks and Recreation Department.

By Russ Baldwin






Filed Under: Chamber of CommerceCity of LamarFeaturedMedia Release


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