Lamar Partnership Inc Begins Downtown Branding Program


Shawna Hodge, Executive Director of Lamar Partnership Incorporated, announced that the downtown painting project on several sidewalk light poles, flower pots, benches and trash receptacles will begin this week. It’s part of a branding project that will develop into a recognizable theme for downtown Lamar and associated businesses. Hodge made the announcement Tuesday, October 30, during the annual LPI board meeting with representatives of the Department of Local Affairs and Downtown Colorado Incorporated.

LPI Board Members, Axel Thurner, Pat Palmer & Lee Merkel of DoLA

Hodge and LPI board members updated Lee Merkel, DOLA representative and Marc Cittone, Main Street specialist with the Department of Local Affairs, on some of the past accomplishments of the economic development organization and reviewed some goals for 2013. Since this past year, LPI has developed a brand/logo which will be used for LPI and downtown activities. Hodge said this will help establish Lamar Partnership Incorporated with its own identity for the general public and move away from the city’s umbrella. Other 2012 highlights included a sponsored marketing seminar for businesses, LCC’s Simple Steps seminar, new marketing information which was generated by a merchant survey and using a recent grant for the downtown painting project.

Marc Cittone and Lamar Mayor Roger Stagner

Some goals for 2013 included appointing a board president to replace Bob Ogle who resigned that position last year. Ogle, who had extensive experience in historic building redevelopment and securing grants for associated projects, left his position with LCC for a similar post in Illinois. Other suggestions included developing one significant downtown promotion for the shopping district, creating a centralized downtown gathering space for future events that would attract and hold an audience for a period of time, grant work for upgrading the Shore Arts Center and attracting more local residents to functions such as the annual Two Shot Goose Hunt, the Snow Goose Festival, Oktoberfest and other downtown related festivals like the Fall Festival. Members said they need to find a way to maintain an audience between the downtown area and a related activity at the chamber, Enchanted Forest or other location.

Cittone said LPI could apply for several small sized grants in 2013, in the order of from $5,000 to $7,000 so long as they were tied to the group’s strategic plan for downtown development. Merkel said he would develop some contacts from DOLA for funding needs, but it would help if LPI had some shovel-ready projects and matching funding available for those grants. Potential funding of Partnership projects from the city’s URA, Urban Renewal Authority was brought up by Cittone. Hodge said the most logical pathway would be combined meetings among the city administrator and some council members, who serve as the URA and LPI board members. Hodge added that the URA would benefit from the appointment of an executive director to administer how the tax generated funds are dispensed. Those funds have been used for improvement projects to the Cow Palace Inn, development of the Holiday Inn Express and improvements to several downtown businesses.

By Russ Baldwin


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