New Downtown Beautification Programs Approved for Lamar



The Lamar Redevelopment Authority approved $27,000 in Authority funds to purchase and install new concrete flowerboxes for the east and west sides of Main Street in Lamar, from Beech Street to Elm Street.  Shawna Hodge, Community Development and Urban Renewal Manager, told the Authority that the new boxes will blend with the existing architectural features along Lamar’s Main Street businesses, reflecting the history of the facades.  Hodge said her board discussed the purchases at length, “We spent about a year discussing our plans for the purchase, where they would be set up and how they would add to the downtown décor,” she explained.  The planters are in two sizes, 96 x 30 x 30 inches and 30 x 30 x 30 inches.  Twelve large boxes and eight smaller boxes will be ordered and should take from six to eight weeks to deliver.  “We plan to move some of the benches to make way for the planters and that won’t be that big an issue, plus I’ve counted 99 older planters throughout the city and they can be placed in other areas such as parking lots or alleyways to decorate other sections of the city,” she said.

Charlotte Herrera of Home Store in Lamar assisted with some of the planning and suggested the city use a mix of perennials and annuals for flowers, as the perennials offer a better root system and can survive some of the rigors of the changing high plains weather.  One additional facet will be added to the project, spigots or a water/feeder line will be included in the downtown renovation project set to begin next spring.  “This way, instead of having a city worker or volunteer drive by with a water tank for the plants, access will be available so volunteer store owners can fill a bucket and keep the plants watered,” Hodge stated.

When asked about the status of the Authority funding, City Treasurer, Kristen McCrea said only 29% of the Authority’s budget has been spent for the year, leaving a balance of $236,000 in the account.  “We expect to see that grow through this year and the next,” she told the Council.

Peeling Paint

Peeling Paint

Two other agenda items were approved including $5,000 for equipment and materials to maintain a volunteer cleanup program for businesses along Main Street.  Hodge explained, “This will be used for basic cleaning such as paint, small repairs to some storefronts up to the awnings and to do some trim work on facades or tree trimming where smaller branches are starting to grow out,” she said.  This project will cover all the properties east and west of Main Street from Oak to Beech Streets.  Hodge said this is just a pilot project and will develop as it continues.

The Authority approved the annual application for participation for Lamar as a Colorado Main Street Community.  The city can apply for $7,000 through the DOLA Mini-Grant program which requires a 25% cash match.  Hodge explained that the funds will help complete the 3rd and final phase of the streetscape enhancements including painting 30 lampposts, 20 trashcans and purchasing and hanging banners.  Some of the funding will be used to improve the alleyway at 4th and Beech Streets.

By Russ Baldwin

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