Pedal the Plains Mural Set for Bi-Centennial Park


Proposed Site for Pedal the Plains Mural

Proposed Site for Pedal the Plains Mural


Shawna Hodge, Lamar Main Street Coordinator, recapped the $1,000 award Lamar received to construct a public art project that will be set in place prior to the Pedal the Plains Bicycle tour in southeast Colorado.  The funding from the Colorado Creative Industries will help finance the multi-group project which incorporates artistic submissions from the Southeast Colorado Arts Council, local artists, The HOPE Center and Lamar High School art students.  Hodge was joined by Rose Ann Yates from the Arts Council who explained the project will be a mosaic mural which focuses on local heritage and agritourism offerings and the health and wellness initiative.  Two panels will be built, measuring 24 by 8 feet and located at Bi-Centennial Park, just south of the fire department in the northwest corner of the park.  Rick Akers, Lamar Parks and Recreation Director told the council, some sprinkler system piping will be reworked at the park to accommodate the positioning of the murals.  The project is on a rush schedule as it has to be ready for viewing by September 20, the day over 1,000 cyclists will arrive in Lamar.  The theme of the mural is “Lamar Reflections”, and local sculptor, Jeremy Cooper will oversee the main portion of the project.  The council is not granting any funding to the project, but did express some concern about the availability of funding, which is $5,000 more than originally anticipated.  Yates said if the west side of the fire department wall had been workable as a site; the cost would have been much lower.  The estimated price of the mural project will be $13,000.  Yates said she will begin soliciting for local donations to offset the balance of the project.  She added that she did want to be able to offer some payment to the students and artists who were contributing their time and talent to create the mural. 

Rose Ann Yates and Shawna Hodge Display Mural Concept for Council

Rose Ann Yates and Shawna Hodge Display Mural Concept for Council


A modification of purpose request from the Rodeway Cow Palace Inn was approved by the Lamar City Council following a public hearing during their Monday meeting, July 22.  Doug Thrall,  motel owner, requested permission to construct a smoking area that would also include consumption of alcoholic beverages on the northeast side of the building for motel and restaurant patrons.  The enclosed space will measure 20 by 20 feet and would not be accessible from the outside, only from inside the motel building through the Colorado Room’s north rear door, and would be surrounded by a six foot tall fence. 

A public hearing was set for August 12 by the council for two special event permits submitted by the Lamar Chamber of Commerce, to host a beer garden from Noon until 10pm on September 20, coinciding with the Pedal the Plains bicycle event in Lamar.  The self-contained beer garden would be located along East Beech Street.  The second chamber request for a special events permit will be to host the annual Oktoberfest beer garden from 11am to 10pm, also at the chamber on October 5. 

The utility rate associated with the Lamar Repowering Project was discussed, as businessman Doug Thrall addressed the council on joining with other ARPA or state municipalities to find a solution to reduce the construction bond payments and get a utility rate structure comparison.  Thrall said he and several other Light Plant customers, who pay large monthly utility bills, will seek to find a way to reduce the costs of the Project’s bonds, some $157,000,000, instead of seeking alternate energy sources.  “Even if we could lower our business costs, it doesn’t help our employees with their utility bills,” Thrall stated.  He said the Cow Palace probably pays less utility rates compared to Colorado Mills, the Ports to Plains Truck Plaza or JBS Five Rivers, the other businesses that have been outspoken about the cost of electricity they pay.  Mayor Roger Stagner agreed some action has to be taken, adding, “What we need to do is control our own rates.”  The mayor said the city has been discussing options and meeting to explore what alternatives may be available.   Attorney Nieschburg noted that Trinidad, an ARPA member, is attempting to negate their contract with the power broker, and said the legal costs involved will be quite high.  He said that the bonding companies have now filed a suit against the City of Trinidad in response to their attempt to end their ARPA contract.

City Administrator, John Sutherland, said the Lamar Bypass poll that was posted on the city website for the past thirty days has been taken down. “I think it was quite successful,” he said, adding, “We had a total of 516 responses on the first question and 509 on the second.”  Those favoring the Bypass, or Reliever Route totaled 373 with 143 opposed in the non-scientific poll.  The second question regarding the city having to come up with matching funds was a closer contest with 261 favoring the match with 248 opposed.  Paul Westhoff, CDOT Resident Engineer for this area, has submitted a comprehensive explanation of the Reliever Route in the Letters to the Editor section of The Prowers Journal, online website. 

Linda Williams, Lamar City Clerk, noted that deadlines are approaching for the November general election for any interested candidates for future positions on the city council.  She said petitions will become available on August 6 and information regarding the elections will be officially posted on July 31 and August 2.  The council positions which will be available this year are Kirk Crespin’s seat for Ward 1, Oscar Riley’s seat in Ward 2, Keith Nidey for Ward 3 and Roger Stagner’s seat on the council for Mayor.  That is an at-large position not tied to any Ward. 

Three resolutions were approved by the council during their meeting.  One authorizes the council to apply for a loan from the Colorado Water Conservation Board to help fund a replacement of the city’s south well field water transmission pipeline.  Six miles of the 80 year old pipeline are in need of replacing, according to Josh Cichocki, City Water and Wastewater Manager.  The second resolution, as outlined by Lamar Police Chief Gary McCrea, allows the city to perform certified vehicle inspections for a $20 fee.  The fees would be applied to future police equipment and training.  The final resolution presented by Parks and Rec Director, Rick Akers, recognizes the continued and future partnership among the City of Lamar, Lamar Recreation Department, and LiveWell Prowers County.  The campaign called HEAL, stands for Health Eating, Active Living Cities and Towns.  The general focus of the campaign is to promote a healthy, active lifestyle and nutrition to reduce obesity in Prowers County. 

Akers said the city is taking a more active role in seeking GoCO grant money to complete the remaining two ball fields at the city sports plex.  Akers said Christine Fisher will be hired and paid on an hourly rate to create an application for the funding.  “She’s been very successful at past similar projects, specifically with GoCO funding,” he explained.  Akers added that the deadline for the next application is August 29 and the city is seeking $340,000 to complete the project.  “We should know if our application was accepted by sometime in December,” Akers explained. 

City Clerk Williams explained that the city will adhere to its municipal codebook in tracking down and fining delinquent business taxpayers.  “We have a handful of businesses that haven’t paid in some time.  Either they are quite late on payments or they simply refuse to pay,” she explained.  Williams and City Attorney, Garth Nieschburg, stated that there are penalties that are automatic regarding delinquent payments, but the municipal codes also allow anywhere between $1 and $300 in addition to a basic fine and if so ordered, 90 days incarceration.  Williams said the city will begin to issue written notices and summonses to these businesses.  She added the city would prefer to resolve the payment issue out of court and work with a business to find an acceptable payment plan to get them caught up. 

Torres Excavation was the low bidder to remove weeds, vegetation and debris from the Willow Creek Drainage area.  The area is about a mile long beginning at Willow Valley Road East to Parmenter Street between the two service roads.  Over the past several years, there has been a noticeable build-up of trees and shrubbery and for safety reasons, the pathway needs to be cleared.  Torres was the low bidder at $15,000. 

The council approved spending $149,858 for the purchase of a new roll off truck.  City Public Works Director, Pat Mason, explained the council had budgeted $168,945 in 2013 capital improvement funds for the vehicle which will be used by the sanitation department.

By Russ Baldwin


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