How best to sell the former Big R warehouses on Washington Street in Lamar in Lamar was discussed by the Prowers County Development Incorporated board of directors this past Tuesday during their monthly meeting. The sale of the land and buildings will provide funding to PCDI for other incentive properties in an effort to foster economic growth in Prowers County. The board decided that a first priority buyer should be interested in turning the property into a job generating business venture and not an opportunity to flip the property in another sale.
For the past two months it’s been on the market, the property has been listed only with local realtors. That timeline is ending and the board is now considering broadening the marketing scope with other realtors, and putting the property on Craigslist. Although the directors prefer to list with someone having firsthand knowledge of the property, they realize that broadening their prospects for sales would also increase chances of a transaction. The marketing committee will hold a meeting to discuss their options. The property was donated to PCDI by Big R in Lamar after the company moved its corporate offices to Pueblo almost two ears ago. The land, appraised at almost $500,000, does not come without some cost, as year to date expenses for upkeep, insurance and repairs following the ownership transition now amount to just over $13,000. Although some of those expenses were a one time only situation, the PCDI board said they cannot afford to continue to fund that level of expense on their budget and need to take steps to have the property sold.
The economic impact of Ft. Lyon Prison closing next March entered the discussion, in light of Governor Hickenlooper’s release of his Colorado Blueprint study. The eighty page document outlines economic development options for the entire state, based on numerous community surveys conducted this past March. An alternative use for the Ft. Lyon Prison was listed as a having a key role in helping sustain the economy of three of the six counties in southeast Colorado. There is still the question of who has ownership of the prison once it closes…the Veteran’s Administration or the federal government, and what other uses can the prison be put to offset the loss of 250 local and area jobs. Governor Hickenlooper made a visit to the prison today, July 26, to speak with employees, and later visited with Bent County officials as well as school district representatives about the assistance the state can offer to repurpose the facility.
The long awaited new website for PCDI should become completely operational by late August. Some technical delays have been corrected and additional community oriented information is being added to the website. It can be viewed at www.procolorado.org. Doris Morgan, Congressman Cory Gardner’s southeastern Colorado liaison, and county commissioner Henry Schnabel, attended the Tuesday morning meeting.
By Russ Baldwin