Redevelopment Authority Approves 2016 Budget, Funding for Pocket Park Construction

Lot Between Shore Arts Center and Daylight Donut

Lot Between Shore Arts Center and Daylight Donut

Two funding resolutions were passed by the Lamar Redevelopment Authority Board during Monday night’s meeting, October 26th.  One resolution adopts the 2016 budget for the Lamar Redevelopment Authority at $137,245, providing for revenues and expenditures.  The other approves up to $50,000 in funding for the improvement of the Shore Arts Center Pocket Park.  City Administrator, John Sutherland, noted that the city may not have to contribute the full amount, pending the cost of the project and additional funding from other sources.

Shore Arts Center board members, Carla Scranton and Trevor LaCost told the Authority Board they were happy with the potential for development for the Pocket Park which is situated between the Arts Center and Daylight Donuts. The parking area is owned by the Center. LaCost said the Board is proud to be able to be a part of the project, “It will be a huge improvement for downtown Lamar, and we’re excited to see this start to come to life.”  Up until almost two years ago, the area had been used as a parking lot for downtown shoppers and as a rear exit into the larger parking area west of South 4th Street.  That area has been closed to traffic and parking and has been used to stage various downtown events.  The general intent is to improve the lot to become a permanent part of the downtown scene and a focal point to help revitalize the adjacent shopping outlets.

A final plan has been developed for the park, incorporating it into a ‘Central Plaza’ and with sufficient funding, the construction plans will move forward into physical development. A University Technical Assistance Program has estimated the probable cost of the project at $150,000.  The Board’s $50,000 match, coupled with $25,000 from Healthy Places and a $75,000 grant from the Department of Local Affairs, should be sufficient to finance the project.  There was no mention of a specific timeline for development, but the general outlook will be at least a year, pending approval of the construction plans, the construction itself and financing.

By Russ Baldwin

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