City Council Discusses Airport Hangar Development, Camera System at Library

Lamar Airport Welcome Sign

Lamar Airport Welcome Sign


The Lamar City Council and area residents were presented with the latest concept designs for the city’s Park’s, Recreation and Trails Master Plan during a council work session, Monday, April 28, at the Cultural Events Center.  Britina Design Group was commissioned by the council to develop a series of ideas for four main recreation areas in Lamar.  The designs were derived from suggestions provided by local residents during a series of community meetings.  Kristin Cypher of Britina noted that she was gratified to see the amount of community input that resulted from several community conversation meetings.  Each of the four areas will present opportunities along with challenges.  She said some of the next steps to follow will be to find community ‘champions’ who will speak for and organize residents in their respective sections of Lamar.  More team meetings, especially with City of Lamar staff has been planned for the next two weeks, neighborhood meetings will be scheduled for May and June and the final design concepts for the four areas of the city will be fine tuned, as well as price the costs of the proposals.  This will occur in June and July.  The Healthy Places project began almost a year ago with an initial visit from ULI representatives and Lamar residents for one week in April.  Lamar is one of three and the only rural community selected for this project in Colorado.  The reasons driving the selection was due to the economic hardships faced by the residents as well as the high level of obesity in the county for younger residents.

The city has proposed private development and ownership of hangars at the Lamar Municipal Airport.  The City and the Lamar Airport Advisory Board have been refining an agreement for current hangar lessees and those on a waiting list.  Four individuals have expressed interest to build T-hangars for their aircraft near the fuel farm at the airport and a Development Agreement has been reviewed for the Council’s consideration.  The Agreement can be modified through negotiations with each hangar developer as needed.  After discussion the council decided the parcels should be uniform at 60 by 60 feet, but the actual hanger dimensions could be smaller per the size of the aircraft. The Council authorized the Mayor to negotiate with those seeking to construct privately owned hangars on city owned land at the airport.  The owner will pay the city a land lease payment of between $0.115 and $0.11975 per square foot annually.  That lease fee is still subject to negotiations. 

The council approved amending a contract to the airport engineering firm, Jviations, to allow for the design, engineering and construction administration of the PAPI project.  Precision Approach Path Indicator lighting will be installed and paid for by a CDAG grant the city was awarded for the project.  The contract includes a total cost of $27,011 for the replacement of the indicators. 

The council authorized the purchase of a security camera system for the Lamar Library.  An assessment of costs and camera placement in the building was conducted by Security Alarm Systems for $4,760.  Lamar Librarian, Debbie Reynolds, said the library board decided the system is needed to cover both the library and hallway of the city complex.  She said there is not enough staff on hand to currently monitor activities not in direct line of sight by the library employees.  The security system, she said, would allow staff members to be moved to other areas of the library and eventually place self-service checkout stations which will free staff member for other projects.  Reynolds said the project is not included in the 2014 budget, but a portion of the funds from the leftover library bond monies could be used.

The council authorized a pledge of $10,000, contingent of the award of a TIGER VI grant, to repair and upgrade the BNSF railroad tracks for the Amtrak Southwest Chief.  The Southwest Kansas Coalition and Garden City, KS have asked the State of Colorado and involved communities to support the application through Garden City for the grant.  Southeast Colorado communities along the rail line who have pledged funds toward their $250,000 goal include La Junta at $10,000; Pueblo at $100,000; Trinidad at $25,000; ProwersCounty at $10,000; BNSF at $2 million and Amtrak at $4 million.  The State of Colorado has not announced a pledge at this time.  If the grant is awarded, the matching funds will not be needed until at least 2016.

Shawna Hodge, Lamar Main Street Coordinator told the council the city is eligible to apply for a $6,000 DOLA, Department of Local Affairs, mini-grant.  A minimum cash match of 25% or $1,500 is required.  She said the funds will be used to complete the second phase of the streetscape enhancements started last year.  This included painting the street light posts, benches and trash receptacles.  The new project would run from north of the railroad tracks to Maple Street, along Main Street.  The council approved the application.  Past funding helped create a new brand for the community in 2012 and the second year funded a market niche study. 

The council gave approval to continue to pursue a Tier 1, Energy and Mineral Impact Grant that will help Lamar become GIS, Geographic Information System, capable.  Similar to GPS, Global Positioning, the GIS system stores, displays and analyzes information that will be referenced geographically.  Roberto Becerril, Director of the City Planning Department, and Shawna Hodge, explained the request for $30,933 equals 41% of the estimated cost of the project, at $75,190.  The balance of the project budget for the city, $13,257, would be provided by the City and County’s in-kind contributions, as well as state and federal funding which is still being sought.  The new system would allow for quicker emergency response capabilities, aid in mapping and zoning, identify floodplains and help coordinate efforts among the city’s departments and agencies.  Water and wastewater emergency responses would be improved when city crews are provided with locations for manholes, valves and listings of previous repairs.  Becerril said on-going fees would need to be included in future funding.  He added that five users would have computer access to the program, such as the city police and fire department.  He said he’d like to develop a citizen access to the website for distribution for open public information such as zoning, flood plain areas, ownership of property and an address base.

Representatives from the Fair Board requested the council to waive fees at WillowCreekPark during the annual Wild West BBQ contest.  The fees cover use of the picnic tables and electric outlets at the park during the event, running May 8 through the 10th.  Overnight camping at the park has already been approved.  The council approved the waiver, but reminded organizers to keep large vehicles off the Park grass and caution BBQ contestants from dumping their used coals on the lawn as well. 


Kenroes (2)


A public hearing was held for a modification of premise application for Kenneth Roe, owner of Olive Street Station.  Roe wants to increase storage at his liquor store at 403 East Olive Street and plans to use the office space for the service station in order to provide the needed space for his liquor operation.  The council voted in favor of the application.

John Sykes, Exalted Ruler of the Lamar Elks Lodge submitted a proclamation declaring the first week in May as Youth Week.  The council approved the proclamation.  Sykes said the Elks will sponsor an observance that week in tribute to the Junior Citizens of the community. 

The council approved the application of Dean Douglass to serve another ten year term to the Lamar Building Finance Corporation.  Douglass will serve the term which will expire in January 2023. 

Todd Schaefer was appointed to a five year term to the Lamar Library Advisory Board.  A vacancy was created on the board with the resignation of Nada Renken. 

Police Chief, Gary McCrea, recognized the most recent group of students in the CitizensAcademy for perfect attendance for the 14 week course.  The six are:  Luann Davis, Dixie Gatchall, Susan Jensen, Lisa Mendenhall, Carla Whistle and Cheryl Yoder.  McCrea said this is the fifth class since the program began in 2012 and now devotes two weeks to fire department instruction and code enforcement.

The monthly informal city council breakfast will be held Wednesday, May 7 from 7 to 8am at the Rodeway Cow Palace Inn.  Dates for the approaching Lamar Days observance were also discussed including the Wild West BBQ Contest and Cinco de Mayo, May 9-10, the Wake Up Lamar Breakfast, Friday, May 16, at the LamarCommunityBuilding and the Lamar Days Parade on the 17th at 10am, as well as the Lion’s Breakfast and activities at WillowCreekPark.

The council went into executive session to discuss strategy for negotiations regarding a matter of litigation and legal questions.

By Russ Baldwin

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