Urban Authority Okays Funding for Las Brisas

Las Brisas Restaurant

Las Brisas Restaurant

“Thank you for your consideration and for establishing this organization which can help fund business ventures and re-purpose existing businesses in town,” said Alfred Bergquist, during his attendance at the Monday evening meeting of the Lamar Redevelopment Authority.  Lamar Mayor, Roger Stagner, had asked Mr. Bergquist if he had any comments regarding his grant application to the Authority to help renovate his restaurant, Las Brisas, in downtown Lamar.

A portion of his request was approved by the Authority, amounting to $21,332, which will be made in two equal payments.  The first will occur within the first fifteen days of the agreement approval and the balance will be paid with invoices detailing the work that was done to the restaurant.  In the request from Las Brisas, that will be for new windows along the street and an electrical panel upgrade for circuitry in the kitchen.  Bergquist will contribute 20% of the total cost of the improvements, or $4,266 along with some other planned improvements including ceiling tile, lighting arrangements and an eventual ADA compliant unisex bathroom, plus cosmetic work on an existing restroom.

Ye Olde Bike Shoppe on North Main Street in Lamar

Ye Olde Bike Shoppe on North Main Street in Lamar

The Authority also voted to open discussion on a smaller request from Don Graves, owner of the Ye Olde Bike Shoppe at 217 North Main Street in Lamar.  Shawna Hodge, the Urban Renewal Manager for Lamar, said Graves will use $431 to construct an old style-themed, business sign for the storefront, and will contribute $200 as matching funds.  However, even though the request was minor, signage does not come under the criteria for funded renovations.  Mayor Roger Stagner reminded the Authority, “This is a sign and will only be up there for as long as the business exists.  I hope it’s for a long time, but we’ve stated that we decided to fund permanent improvements such as support walls, plumbing and other areas that will not be changed when the ownership of a business is changed.”

Stagner continued, Does this fit into the criteria for Urban Renewal policies, can it be placed under a façade category?”  Hodge noted that this particular building is one of twenty-five in Lamar that is on the state historical registry and the sign would be in keeping with a similar style.  While not approving the request, the Authority decided to forward the grant application for additional discussion.

On a similar note, Hodge noted that the Lamar Partnership Board is working to develop some additional colorful planters to be placed along Main Street, on the block between Olive and Beech Streets.  “These will be more colorful and we intend to showcase some new benches which will have backs, so visitors and shoppers can sit, relax and perhaps do some people watching,” she offered.  Area residents would be able to get an idea of the new style and provide some input on the concepts.  The planter would still require watering, and City Administrator John Sutherland said there is some thought to developing an underground waterline connection which could be installed while the Main Street upgrades are underway next year.  At present, each of the planters along Main Street is watered by hand from a City Public Works Truck.

By Russ Baldwin




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