Urban Redevelopment Authority Okays Roof Repair Project

My Wholesale Products and Thoughts in Bloom Facades

My Wholesale Products and Thoughts in Bloom Facades

The Lamar City Council, acting as the Lamar Redevelopment Authority Board on Monday, August 11, approved a grant request to fund building improvements to My Wholesale Products at 105 South Main Street and Thoughts in Bloom at 107 South Main in Lamar. Shawna Hodge, Executive Director of Lamar Partnership Incorporated, explained that the requested $8,000 will be used for several purposes including roof rehabilitation to close off some leaks that have been discovered, mostly at the 105 South Main address. Ceiling tiles have deteriorated at both locations because of the leaking roof. The city’s Building Codes Inspector has given the occupants 90 days to correct the problem.

Aside from the roof repair, Thoughts in Bloom has already taken steps to expand the nature of the flower shop to include packaged food sales. Interior upgrades to the store include new flooring, painting walls and purchasing new fixtures. It’s expected that the expansion of the business should contribute to an increase in sales tax revenue. However, it’s necessary to repair the roof so both businesses can remain open. The total amount of the request is $7,796 and there will be $500 contributed in matching funds from the applicant/owner, Melissa Bohl.  Bohl owns both properties and rents to My Wholesale Products.  She told the board she has had schematics developed to incorporate a new façade for her storefront, but that will have to go on the back burner in lieu of the unexpected costs for the roof repair.

The board also discussed a future meeting to develop some pros and cons of establishing a sliding scale for the size of grant requests and associated matching fees, to ensure that there would be sufficient funding for future grant requests in the Authorities’ financial account in a given year.  Discussion will also focus on a timeline for the completion of a project once a grant request has been approved.  One additional task will be the development of an annual checklist form which a borrower would submit to the Authority through the life of a project, making sure the funds were being used as intended.  The Authority will also review a list of property improvements in the URA district since 2010 to make sure all the accrued values will match.  City Administrator John Sutherland said there is some concern that although some building permits have been issued over the years, and fees paid for them, there is no value of the work completed and listed on those permits.

The council approved a request to donate the former Lamar Library Bookmobile as a vehicle that will be used by Share the Spirit Foundation to help distribute shoes to various schools in southeast Colorado. Rick Akers, City Parks and Recreation Director, told the council he has spoken with Karen Voepel co-director of the Foundation about the non-profit organization’s annual shoe drive for area students and suggested that the unused Bookmobile be put into service and donated to Share the Spirit.  Voepel said the vehicle will help reach some areas of southeast Colorado where parents are not able to make the trip to town for the annual distribution day at J-N Shoes, set this year for September 28.  “We’re getting a $5,000 donation from a state organization to repair the truck and already we’ve had Zonta donate about 40 new pairs of shoes and a citizen has donated another 20,” she explained, adding that each year around 2,000 pairs of new shoes are donated to those most in need through J-N Shoes.

There will probably be night fishing in the near future at the city’s newest pond at North Gateway Park.  Two local residents requested the hours of operation at the park be expanded to allow night fishing, especially for catfish through the season, as they are more active after sunset.  The curfew now runs to 10:30pm, but neither the council, nor a representative from the state Department of Parks and Wildlife, said they could find a reason not to allow fishing at any time.  Parks and Recreation Director, Rick Akers, will meet with the DPW and private citizens to arrive at a set of options for the council to consider at a future meeting.  Lamar Police Chief, Gary McCrea, said he has his officers routinely patrol the park after dark to help prevent any vandalism or keep people from camping overnight.

A resolution was approved by the council setting the rates and fees schedule for use of public facilities and for services provided by the city for the approaching year. The council went into executive session for a conference with the city’s attorney to receive advice on specific legal questions.

By Russ Baldwin

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