Pocket Park Plans Begin with Funding

The Downtown Lamar Pocket Park is Filled for the Fall Festival

The Downtown Lamar Pocket Park is Filled for the Fall Festival

The Lamar City Council is reviewing a multi-page concept for the Pocket Park proposal. The former parking lot between Daylight Donut and Shore Arts Center, has been closed to cars for the past year, but open to a number of community oriented activities. The most recent was the early September Fall Festival which featured BBQ, vendors and live music for over a hundred people. The more people learned of the spring and summer events, the more showed up. The Lamar City Council and Healthy Places want to capitalize on the appeal, constructing a permanent area which could be used for a host of year-round events. But, as with any project, funding is the first consideration.

A construction plan is needed for the first of three phases of park development before any grants can be considered. The first is the park area, estimated at $125,000 for renovations. The next two areas, the alleyway connecting Olive and Beech Streets and the parking lot to the east have been given a rough estimate of another $375,000. DOLA, Department of Local Affairs, offers Tier 1 matching grants and Healthy Places has pledged $30,000 of their three year grant to the project. City Administrator, John Sutherland, estimated that some local funding could work, “We could take that Healthy Places $30K and add $50K to it which would give us $80,000 towards our half of the grant.”

The neighbors like the concept as well. Sutherland and Lamar Parks and Recreation Director, Rick Akers, told the council that Shore Arts Center and Daylight Donuts are on board. Akers told the council, “Healthy Places has to use up the balance of their grant by next year or they lose it.” He recommended a 25 year intergovernmental agreement with the Shore Arts board for the parking lot which is standard for most GoCO grants. Daylight Donuts has plans to open a window on the north wall from which they could serve patrons in the park and the concept includes tables and chairs and wall seating. The city will also provide in-kind contributions such as electrical, plumbing and grading once the construction plan is finalized. “Once that’s done, we’ll have a better idea of the costs and contributions,” Sutherland explained.

He added that the park can be constructed with no hindrance from the reconstruction plans CDOT has for Main Street beginning next spring. “We don’t have to wait for that to finished before we can start on this project. As long as we can finance the construction plans we can get the go ahead and Healthy Places has the funding for that portion,” he said.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessChamber/Local BusinesscommunityEconomyEntertainmentFeaturedLamarRecreationTourism


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