Paul Westhoff, CDOT Resident Engineer, and Lamar City Administrator Bill Pfeilsticker, discussed the pros and cons of the construction of a Multi-Modal Transportation building for east of the Lamar Chamber of Commerce building. The council had discussed CDOT’s earlier proposal to construct a 1,200 square foot addition to the train terminal which would provide shelter and coin dispenser snacks to train and bus travelers, 24/7. The council had decided there would be no gain to the city for such a venture due to the city’s 20% share of construction funding, approximately $119,000, as well as the annual maintenance fees and utility costs that would fall to the city. CDOT’s share of the construction project would be 80% or $476,039. The city council last year decided not to include any project funds in the 2012 budget. It was pointed out earlier that the busses traveling through Lamar provide a brief layover at McDonald’s along North Main Street, and tickets for the busline as well as Amtrak may be purchased from the driver or conductor, en route.
The council had also noted the potential re-routing of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief rail service by the end of 2014. The Colorado route is one of five being considered for future changes. The proposed route would completely by-pass Colorado, dropping south in Kansas through Amarillo, Texas enroute to Albuquerque, New Mexico. An upgrade to the stretch of track through Colorado is estimated at $92 million. If the alternate route is selected, La Junta could lose as many as 14 Amtrak employees in that city. In an average year, according to city councilman Skip Ruedeman, Lamar has 1,900 Amtrak travelers, while La Junta has almost 8,000. La Junta city manager, Rick Klein, is forming a regional committee to explore options to maintain the Colorado line. The Southwest Chief is used by thousands of Boy Scouts from across the country, who, each summer, travel between the Philmont Scout Ranch by way of the Raton Amtrak Station. The council approved a resolution endorsing continuation of the current route through Colorado, allowing three states to coordinate their efforts to protect the route used by the Southwest Chief. Westhoff said he’d get an update on when the CDOT funding for the project would expire, and see if the proposed building could be used by the city for other purposes.
Mayor Roger Stagner signed a council proclamation supporting this year’s, “Relay for Life” which will be held June 2-3. This year, the American Cancer Society fund-raiser has set a goal of $85,000. Police Chief Gary McCrea explained how the council needed to update the city’s ordinances pertaining to the state’s Model Traffic Code. The last action was in 2003. McCrea said few changes would be involved, but would keep the city consistent with CDOT developments. A public hearing on the action will be held February 13. The Lamar Ledger was designated the official newspaper for the City of Lamar. The council voted to approve paying the $1,000 membership fee in a Memorandum of Agreement among the City, DOLA, Downtown Colorado Inc. and Lamar Partnership Inc. The fee maintains the city’s membership in the Colorado Main Street Program for one year. The council okayed a six month rental of the Aerobic Room at the Lamar Community Building for Zumba exercises. The class is being run by Tasha Shelton Tuesdays and Thursdays between 5:15pm and 6:45pm. The fee is $864. The council voted to remove the $2 rental fee of non-fiction DVDs from the Lamar Library. The council approved an increase for ambulance billing rates to coincide with recommendations from Medicaid and Medicare. Lamar Fire Chief Marshall Cook explained the 3% increase will allow the city to continue future reimbursements while upping the fees from between $5 to $10 for several levels of ambulance service.
In other action, the council noted the informal monthly breakfast meeting will be held February 1 from 7am to 8am at Burger King, North Main Street in Lamar. There was some brief discussion on renaming a portion of CR EE.5 between Memorial drive and the dog pound. One recommendation was Bow Wow Boulevard. The council is considering other options. February 2 marks the 10th anniversary of the Lamar SOS Center on East Olive Street, an observance will be held between 10am and 9pm. The PCDI annual meeting has been set for February 16 at 6:30pm at the Cow Palace Inn. The council is also discussing a date for an annual retreat meeting to set goals for the city and/or meet with department heads.
by Russ Baldwin
Filed under: Business, community, Economy, Employment, Featured, Lamar, News, Public Safety, Tourism, Transportation · Tags: Amtrak, BNSF, CDOT, DOLA, La Junta, Lamar, Lamar Chamber of Commerce, Lamar Mayor Roger Stagner, PCDI, Southwest Chief, zumba