Main Street Construction Project Delayed

Downtown Lamar

Downtown Lamar

The Lamar Main Street Overlay project by CDOT won’t begin in February or March of 2015.  The city has received word that the major repair project for Main Street has a better construction window perhaps in 2016.  The city had requested a Tier II Energy and Mineral Impact Assistant Grant to finance the replacement of water distribution mains under the roadway.  Josh Cichocki, City Water Manager, told the council that now that the project has been pushed back a year, the city will ask the Department of Local Affairs to amend the original grant from a Tier II to a Tier I Planning Grant Application for the planning stages of the water infrastructure upgrades prior to the start of the Overlay project.  The city is requesting $120,000 and will provide in-kind and cash contributions for a dollar-for-dollar match.  Cichocki explained about the postponement, “Now that CDOT is not in the position to begin any utility work through 2015, it doesn’t make sense to apply for this grant at this time.  One of the qualifiers for the application is a shovel-ready project and it’s not very shovel-ready right now.”

City Administrator Sutherland said the city had discussed plans with the CDOT representative, Brian Long, about the project on the Main Street project’s timing, “Given the way the project is coming together at this point, it’s unlikely that construction will begin as projected for February or March.  He thinks it’s more likely it will be a Fall project, pending any real preparation work for next year.”  He explained, “This delay will give us time to back off, take a breath and plan more carefully.  We raced into this at a pretty high speed to get it done.”

Partially Completed Street from Earlier Construction

Partially Completed Street from Earlier Construction

The council approved an additional $5,000 in design and engineering fees for the firm, JVA.  This will cover additional expenses to develop a new plan to substitute for the original access permit at the intersection of Camino de Santa Fe and U.S. Highway 50 near Wal-Mart.  The initial CDOT permit would have covered a right-in/right-out only access, but it required so much work by the city at a higher cost, that the initial permit was withdrawn and the city re-submitted new plans.  The JVA work will study plans for a full movement access at the intersection.  Sutherland told the council, “I think this is something we can do in the spring next year, probably around March or April, and we’ll do this with in-house help and do as much as possible by ourselves.”

The LRAB, Lamar Redevelopment Authority Board, approved an Urban Renewal agreement for the building improvement grant which was awarded to Parker Heating and Air Conditioning in Lamar.  The  grant was discussed during an earlier Board meeting as part of an overview of the criteria the Board would consider for future requests from businesses in general.  Most members felt the funds should be prioritized for construction projects which would be basic to a structure no matter the manner of the business, such as exterior walls, ceiling, flooring and some code enforcement upgrades.  The Parker Heating and Air agreement calls for $7,971.98 which will come from the 2014 URA budget.  There will be two equal payments and all expenses will be invoiced per the agreement.  The installation of the HVAC system by Parker will serve as a matching payment-in-kind.  The work on the property will need to pass a final inspection before the second payment is made.  The project includes the installation of a furnace, condenser and a new gas line from the meter to the furnace.  Parker Heating and Air recently moved to a new location at 518 North Main Street in Lamar.  The approval is contingent on some alterations in the contract language.

In other Redevelopment news, City Administrator, John Sutherland, noted that the city has been in talks with Peter Patel, the owner of the Days Inn Motel on North Main Street.  Sutherland noted that Patel is requesting some relief for utility construction and building permits for a proposed, twenty room addition to his motel.  The cost of construction is roughly estimated at $1.4 million.  Sutherland said the fees and labor help come to $30,000 with $10,000 for the building permit and $20,000 to move an electrical pedestal and support platform.  The Board will take up the requests at a future meeting.  Sutherland said Patel is hiring an environmental assessment firm to study and conduct some initial test borings on 22 acres he owns and intends to transform into a housing project and commercial properties on the west side of North Main Street.

by Russ Baldwin

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