Parks, Recreation and Trails Master Plan Adopted

Renovated North Side Park

Renovated North Side Park

The Lamar City Council voted unanimously to adopt the Parks, Recreation and Trails Master Plan during Monday night’s council meeting.  Mayor Roger Stagner and City Administrator John Sutherland specified that many of the plans are contingent on adequate funding and this long-term project will not be completed in just a few years.  It will involve a commitment to see all the plans come to fruition.  Stagner said, “We are going to be open minded for any changes that may develop in the Master Plan along the way.  None of this will be cast in stone.”  Sutherland added, “There are sections of the plan that will require fine tuning.  Just getting a letter of commitment from the railroad company for some crossing points will be comparable to passing a bill through Congress.”  Two areas of the Plan appear to head the list for first completion.  One is the Lamar Loop, eight miles of pathways which will surround Lamar and connect various parts of the city, north-south-east and west to each other with a multi-purpose hiking trail.  Another smaller and less costly project is the Pocket Park development for the parking area between Daylight Donut and the Shore Arts Center in downtown Lamar.  Rick Akers, Lamar Parks and Rec Director told the council he and the committee facilitating the Plan’s development are mindful of extenuating costs beyond cash matches.  “We are also looking at sustainable maintenance costs for every aspect of the Plan.  We’re conscious of how much the maintenance of these projects will cost the community years after they have been completed.” A rough estimate of eight various projects in the Master Plan runs to $9,730,000, much of which is hoped to be grant funded.

Ron Cook received permission for the use of Willow Creek Park as the host site for the 20th annual Lamar Days Rod Run Car Show, an integral part of Lamar Days activities held each May.  Cook uses the southern end of the park to showcase cars, trucks and motorcycles, usually as many as 110.  Cook requested permission for early arrivals on May 15 to be able to stay overnight in the park.  He emphasized that there will be no alcohol beverages served during the show, and as usual, the area would be policed for trash at the conclusion of the show.  “We had the best turnout of the Rod Run and No Booze Cruise with Cops last year at Sonic Drive-In and donated around $700 to the city’s fireworks fund,” he said.  Cook also mentioned the possibility of renting an old-time ‘hot rod’ movie and use an inflatable movie screen to showcase the film in the park on Saturday night.

Staffon Warn, Pat Leonard and Christopher Duffy were appointed to the city’s Fire Code Board of Appeals.  Interim Lamar Fire Chief, Jeremy Burkhart explained there have been no appeals to the board since the city adopted the 2006 edition of the International Fire Codes, and as such, there was no need for a board to be created.  Now, however, a citizen is making an appeal and the three nominees all have had extensive fire department experience.  The three terms would be staggered at three, two and a one year term.

The council noted 20 different areas of the City of Lamar that would serve as a post site for notice of public meetings for 2015.  This is a standard housekeeping measure that is conducted annually by the council.  On a similar housekeeping duty, the council determined which members will serve as liaison to various boards and commissions for 2015.  Some changes were made to accommodate Felix Dias as a new council member, appointed to replace Ron Cook’s seat.  Dias and Gerry Jenkins have swapped some commissioners with her serving as liaison to the Fire Department and PCDI while Dias will represent the city on the Parks and Rec Advisory Board, Community Resource and Senior Center and Lamar Partnership, Inc.

Another annual agreement was renewed with the Prowers County Department of Human Services.  The city helps the County with the implementation of the Alternative Work Experience Program for TANF clients to gain real world work experience.

City Administrator, John Sutherland, outlined an EGE, Eligible Governmental Entity agreement, for a $5,000 grant to pay for a GIS mapping and information solution for the City of Lamar.  The Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority provides internet hosting services to access GIS maps and ‘layers’ of infrastructure sites.  The council approved the agreement for the system which maps the city’s water distribution system, waste water collection system, street, curbs, sidewalks and gutters, fire hydrant locations and addressing of streets.

The council approved the costs associated with replacing an outdated diesel fuel tracking system used by the city.  Pat Mason, Public Works Director said the Gas Boy fuel system at the City Shop is in need of expensive repairs.   Records are kept of fuel usage by employee and equipment number so the proper department can be billed.  Since the system crashed in December, there was no provision in the budget for a replacement and employees are using a time consuming honor system of recording usage.   “We’re using our cards to gain entry to the system, but all the transactions are being kept on a clipboard.  This new system will also replace a card reader and employee ID cards and we’ll just go with pin numbers which will also save costs,” he explained.  The council authorized purchasing the Fuel Master 2500 Plus system from Eaton Sales for $12,730.  The cost will be split among the departments that use diesel fuel and should pay for itself within a year, given the current lower diesel fuel prices.

Administrator Sutherland announced the official hiring of Kyle Miller as the city’s full time Chief of Police, effective January 19, 2015.  Miller has been the city’s interim chief, replacing the former chief, Gary McCrea late last year.  Following an executive session, the council voted to hire a consultant engineering firm, Burns and McDonnell, to place a value on the city’s former 25MW, natural gas, power plant.  Mayor Stagner said, “They will look at the value of the Power Plant operation, minus the Lamar Repowering Project, to determine the value of what we lost when we switched to a coal fired operation.  The plant still had a permit to generate power, but of course, we stopped that with the rising cost of natural gas at the time.  The city will receive two price estimates; the value of the gas plant at the time of operation and the cost of replacing it at today’s prices.  This is all a part of the city moving ahead with its lawsuit against ARPA.”

By Russ Baldwin

Brought to you by: Colorado East Bank & Trust

Brought to you by: Colorado East Bank & Trust

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