Water Supplies, Storm Alerts Discussed at Community Conversation

Although the drought in southeast Colorado continues, the water supply from the City of Lamar well fields is in good shape, according to City Administrator, John Sutherland.  “At this time, we’re not anticipating a need for any water use restrictions for the coming summer,” he told the Community Conversation audience at the Lamar Foursquare Life Center on Tuesday, February 5.  Sutherland mentioned that the Fort Bent Ditch Company had about the worst winter year in decades,  however, the wells south of Lamar are showing average static levels so there’s no need for any regulated restrictions the city would impose right now.  Sutherland said there’s still no reason residents shouldn’t be mindful of being water-wise when it comes to their own daily uses.  Sutherland said he and the council might consider sending out some community messages regarding water conservation tips through the local media.

 The plans for accepting the deed for the Valco property are on hold at this time.  Sutherland said the city was ready to accept the property by December 31 of last year, but some legal aspects of responsibility for the condition of the acreage along the Arkansas River, which would put it all on the city, have caused a delay.  He explained that the State Department of Reclamation and Mined Safety gave a failed grade for re-vegetation of the property from last year.  Grant funding for improvements to the Valco Pond site is still a consideration and some private property at the will need to be fenced off from the public. 

Some members of the Life Center asked the police to take an occasional look at the alleyway in back of the Church off South 11th.  They say they have noticed a number of high school students congregating there and are concerned that some drug transactions may be occurring.  Lamar Police Chief Gary McCrea replied that the school system does have a full time Special Resources Officer on hand who is headquartered at the school, but he is also responsible for the other schools in the district as well.  He said the department will address the citizen’s concerns.   

Other issues discussed included the effectiveness of PCDI, Prowers County Development Incorporated.  Dr. Wayne Hudson asked if the city thought it was getting an adequate return on investment for the $50,000 they contribute, along with the equal match from the county to finance the economic development organization.  Timely severe weather alerts were also brought up given the return to the stormy season for southeast Colorado.  Despite some radar upgrades from the National Weather Service, Lamar and other area communities are literally under the radar, as the equipment now in use in the area cannot detect storm systems under 9,600 feet.  Southeast Colorado is monitored from as far away as Pueblo, Goodland, Dodge City and Amarillo, but costs for more localized monitoring equipment is prohibitive.  Citizens are urged to sign up for Code Red alerts for cell phones and land lines and links are available on the City of Lamar website, or even on The Prowers Journal main page. 

Problems with recycling cardboard were also discussed.  One resident said she would recycle more often but the cardboard disposal sites in town were almost always full and she didn’t want to dump it on the ground.  Part of the problem said Pat Mason, city Public Works Director, was that folks weren’t breaking the boxes down so more material could be accepted.  There are four drop off sites in Lamar, behind Thriftway, at Alco, the east side of the Safeway parking lot and between the Pit Stop and Sonic Drive-in.  Mason said his crews usually will make a pick up three days a week.  Other topics discussed included a new approach for securing a GoCO grant to complete the sports Fourplex whose construction has been delayed, downtown parking, signal lights along Main Street intersections and the Ports to Plains by-pass. 

Sutherland said the Community Conversations will generally be held every six weeks and at a different location through the Lamar area.  The date and time for the next meeting will be announced at a later date.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinesscommunityEconomyEnergyFeaturedLamarLaw EnforcementProwers CountyRecreationSchoolTransportationUtilitiesWeatherYouth


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