Four officers were elected to the Lamar Partnership Board and one new board member was welcomed during the LPI annual meeting held Wednesday, February 24th.
Cindy Bennett from the Prowers County Fair Board was selected as a new board member while Lisa Carder was voted as LPI President with Tera Binder as Vice-President, Carla Scranton as Secretary and Denise Carder as Treasurer. The vote and meeting was presided over by Angie Cue, the LPI Executive Director and Community Development Director for the City of Lamar.
The board noted the dates for future events in 2016 including the ‘Hotter than Hell’ music concert and arts and craft show which is set for July 9th. It will coincide with the annual Windmill Softball Classic which brings several hundred participants to Lamar. Some suggested changes for the H-T-H event included more food vendors and moving the beer tent to the property, acquired by the city, which is due south of the Chamber parking lot. Board member, Axel Thurner, observed that this will put the beer tent in the middle of the activities and help serve as a draw with a closer proximity to downtown events during the one day festival. A suggestion was made to find local music talent closer to home, which would help reduce costs. Jay Gruber, owner/operator of The Buzzard’s Roost in Lamar volunteered to help find some acts from around the region to help keep costs in line.
The spring Lamar Clean Up Day is set for Saturday, April 30th. The all-day event calls for volunteers to assist and board members were asked to check their calendars to see if they can help or find some helping hands.
Cue noted that the recycle bags used to hold electronic materials for the twice monthly E-refuse days, are now available from the Public Works Department headquarters on North Second Street and are selling at $2 per bag. She added, “We’re looking at developing some young volunteers from Healthy Places and the 4H program in Lamar to help out on Saturdays.” Creating a ‘downtown façade squad’ was discussed. It would consist of a group of volunteers who would wash storefronts and windows using power equipment. Cue said she and some board members assessed the storefronts of several businesses along Main Street to see what type of work would be needed to make them more presentable. The next step will be to contact the retailers to see how many would be interested in the project. No set day was selected, but general discussion focused on a Sunday in either May or June.
The boundaries of downtown Lamar were reviewed at the request of the state Main Street Program, devoted to have more local residents and visitors make use of the available retail sector . The current listing on hand by Main Street Colorado shows a smaller area that what most locals consider the downtown area, proper. It’s current borders are a portion of East and West Maple Streets south to Oak Streets running with the alleyways from between South 6th and 5th on the west over to the alleyways between South 3rd and 4th Streets. The board decided to submit a new boundary using the Avenue Colonia just north of the Lamar Canal and south to Park Street. It will be forwarded to the Main Street program for review and a recommendation from them.
Cue explained that Department of Local Affairs, DOLA, has helped fund some downtown programs in Lamar including the decorative sidewalk pole lights, the attached banners and the flower planters along the city sidewalks. “When we move into the CDOT street renovation this summer, we’ll be able to use some of the DOLA dollars. We’re looking at street-scaping and develop a plan so that after CDOT is done, we’ll have a plan and DOLA funding to accomplish some improvement projects,” she explained.
The director told the board she is working on a plan to sell sponsorships to the 32 planters that line Main and Olive Streets. “If we can sell all of them, the proceeds will go towards the purchase of new flowers and their watering through the summer,” she explained. She said she’ll create a sponsorship brochure which can be used in the sale. Cue said just to buy flowers last year, it cost $2,500. The next board meeting will be Wednesday, March 23rd at the Chamber offices.
By Russ Baldwin
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