On Jan. 5, Trinidad City Council and staff met for their regular meeting and during public hearings, council held a quasi-judicial deliberation led by City Attorney Les Downs for a new tavern liquor license application filed by Trinidattie, LLC, doing business as Trinidad Lounge at 421 North Commercial Street.

Co-owner Curtis Wallach was present for the deliberation and presented introductory remarks.

“The Trinidad Lounge will be the first phase in revitalizing the historic Trinidad Hotel building,” said Wallach. “It will activate a business in that building on the street level in more than a decade.”

Wallach added that the “Dad Lounge,” as those involved with the business have been calling it, will act as a support structure for the town’s “burgeoning music scene,” where creatives and creative ideas can blossom.

The décor itself, which Wallach described as the movies “The Life Aquatic” meets “Unforgiven.”

“The space is of a high cultural significance on its own,” said Wallach. “It’s unique nautical southwestern aesthetic is something to behold and we aim to keep that character fully intact.”

Wallach said even with approval, he is hoping to wait to open until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides to allow for more people to be able to come in.

“We’re cautiously optimistic for May,” said Wallach.

When the location does open, Wallach explained they would offer alcoholic beverages and a limited menu of food, “tentatively White Castle sliders,” he said.

Also explained was that the entire premise was owned by the Trinidad Hotel, LLC which is made up of Wallach and Kayvan Khalatbari.

In a first for council, Wallach explained his process for obtaining petition signatures without having to go door to door or see anyone in person.

Ultimately, owners Wallach and his wife, Suzanne Magnuson presented a meet and greet that the Trinidad and Las Animas Counties Chamber of Commerce helped to organize via Zoom.

Following the presentation, a link to a form that could be submitted digitally was sent to those on the call.

“I’m very impressed with the lengths of responsibility that you’ve taken to try to be secure and not pass COVID around or get it yourself,” said Mayor Phil Rico. “It’s very interesting the way you’ve done this.”

With that the deliberation closed and the license was unanimously approved.

Another public hearing had to do with a second reading of an ordinance authorizing and directing the implementation of the City of Trinidad COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Program No. 2, of which City Manager Mike Valentine commented that they had already received quite a few applications.

Economic Director Wally Wallace gave a brief update of businesses and applications that had come in so far.

“I put these applications out a week before Christmas,” said Wallace. “Since that time, I don’t have an exact number of businesses that have applied but from the look of it, we’re getting pretty close to 100 applications. Of the money that’s been allocated according to the formula that we’ve put together including three months of utility credits and a $1500 cash stimulus, all together we’ve allocated out $242,100.”

Of that, $114,600 is in utility credits, $127,500 is in cash stimulus payment form. These funds would only be awarded if the second reading was approved by council, which it was unanimously.

In total, the city has allocated $500,000 for dispersal between business and residential support. Wallace added that most of the applicants thus far were returning applicants from the Spring of 2020.

Applications are available online however it was found that it was not possible to use a phone to access and submit applications, so staff asked that everyone interested in applying do so via a tablet, laptop, or desktop.

Additionally, forms are available at the front door of City Hall and could also be emailed to those interested in applying.

“It is a good feeling to be able to do something for the business community right now,” said Councilmember Erin Ogletree, “and I’m very grateful for that and being part of it.”

In addition, during public comment Paula Little was present to thank the council personally on behalf of all the artists at Marketplace Gallery for the financial support from the city staff and council.

“We’re so grateful and appreciative of the financial boost you’ve given us. It really would have been hard to survive without it. Everyone I talk to is so amazed that a city would do this for their people and businesses. We feel taken care of and just wanted to thank you in person.”

Also, during the meeting, Tresley Hensley was appointed to the Main Street Board. This board helps to promote Trinidad’s Main Street activities and businesses in addition to doing things such as installing the musical equipment at Central Park that benefits downtown overall.

The next meeting of council will be their regular work session on Monday, Jan. 11.

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